Maxima has class factor on his side, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Maxima has class factor on his side

Singapore Gold Cup hopeful should strip fitter with one run under the belt this prep

Maxima has the least exposed form among the eight runners in the $70,000 Class 3 race (1,600m) on June 22, and yet he is the only one with a touch of class.

The globetrotter landed with a record of four wins ranging from 1,400m to 1,600m in France and UK, though his subsequent career in Hong Kong did not yield any wins in 13 starts.

Owner Edmond Yue of 2022 Singapore Gold Cup winner Hongkong Great fame then sent him to Singapore in the hope the change of scenery would spark him up.

Maxima probably liked the warmer end of Asia better because he exploded onto the Kranji scene with three wins (1,200m to 1,800m) in four starts.

He then led the 16-horse field in the 2023 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m), but Real Efecto softened him up with his challenge from the halfway mark. Maxima bravely hung on till the 300m mark, but eventually faded to run 10th to Lim’s Kosciuszko.

All things considered, his four prep runs between August and October were probably too rushed for such a gruelling event against the country’s best stayers.

Trainer Ricardo Le Grange has far from given up on another shot at handing Yue and himself a second Singapore Gold Cup trophy.

The German-bred seven-year-old by Ivawood made his Kranji comeback in a Class 3 race (1,400m) on May 18, running a meritorious fifth to Flying Nemo.

He might have followed a touch too close off the early sizzling sectionals set by Pacific Vampire. It took him out of his comfort zone, leaving him one-paced inside the last 300m.

The handsome chestnut has tightened up further since, as evidenced by his measured 43.6sec in a 600m gallop on June 18.

The mile will be more up his alley, as he looks to build up towards his grand final on Oct 5.

While fitness may still be a niggling query, all of his seven rivals have plenty of it on their sides.

King Of Sixty-One is also relatively lightly raced with only 15 starts under the belt, but the Irish-bred five-year-old, who is also being aimed at the Gold Cup, has already had four starts for one win and one second this campaign.

The methodical prep brings the course and distance specialist (two wins) into the firing line.

Speaking of fitness, they do not come in any better shape than the ultra-robust Roda Robot.

In contrast to Maxima’s six runs in nine months, the seven-time winner (from 33 starts) has already clocked in the same amount in three months.

The Mongolian Khan four-year-old can be hit-and-miss at times, though. From the handy barrier (3), he may enjoy a cosy run in transit, and if first-time partner Daniel Moor comes up with the tactical nous to navigate this smallish field, he will be in the shake-up.

The dour stayer Saint Tropez would be more in his element in anything upwards of 1,600m, but his sparkling form has not gone unnoticed. He will be thereabouts when the whips are cracking.