Minister can take charge
The rising star should capitalise on inside draw and likely wet track in wide-open Raffles Cup
Tomorrow's $400,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup sure looks a race with a gilt edge.
There are many worthy contenders in the field of 15 and I am in a quandary: Not who to pick but who to leave out?
You have the ever-reliable Countofmontecristo, Singapore Gold Cup winner Mr Clint, recent Singapore Derby winner Top Knight, Kranji Mile winner Aramaayo, last year's Derby winner Sun Marshal and Stewards' Cup winner Siam Blue Vanda.
All are primed for the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series in Race 10 tomorrow.
Throw in rising star Minister, and you have an added worthy adversary. Together, they make it an exciting race to watch.
Although Minister has yet to win a big race, the four-year-old American-bred has quality about him.
One of trainer Lee Freedman's four runners - the others being Mr Clint, Sun Marshal and Loyalty Man - he has what it takes to win a major race.
After his hat-trick from his second start, he was set for the Derby over 1,800m on Sept 5.
But he did not have the luck of the draw, having to jump from the widest gate of 14.
His regular rider, A'Isisuhairi Kasim, got him to cross in beautifully to lead. He looked the winner but had to settle for third behind Top Knight and Elite Incredible, who is my best bet of the day.
Elite Incredible has a big drop in grade - from being a narrow Group 1 Derby runner-up to running only in Class 3 in tomorrow's Race 7. The only thing is he has drawn the widest gate.
Back to Minister, he again drew very wide, in Gate 13 of 14 runners, last start in a Class 2 race over 1,600m.
Ridden from behind, he closed in for a half-length second to stablemate Ocean Crossing.
Now that he has Gate 4 tomorrow, he can capitalise on it with an economical run to stake his Raffles Cup claims.
His three wins were from barriers 3 and 4.
The anticipated wet track should also play to his advantage. While it will not probably suit horses like Aramaayo and a few others, Minister should have no problem.
He has won on the soft track in the United Kingdom.
Too bad A'Isisuhairi, who knows the horse inside-out, cannot ride, as he is serving a careless-riding suspension. But reigning champion apprentice jockey Simon Kok looks a capable replacement.