New Boss takes over City Gold Stable horses, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

New Boss takes over City Gold Stable horses

Hong Kong outfit sell 6 runners, who will all stay with trainer Kok till S’pore racing’s end

A large group of horses have changed hands within the David Kok yard, but it is business as usual, nonetheless.

The City Gold Stable has sold all their six horses to the Phan Three Three Stable, better known for their “Boss” horses such as Hey Boss and Boss Heng Heng.

They have, however, still kept one horse with trainer Steven Burridge, City Gold Farewell.

The Hong Kong outfit entered the Singapore racing market with lofty plans in 2023, investing in both tried horses and yearlings, all coming under Kok’s care.

City Gold Star (four wins) and City Gold Forward (two wins) were among their most successful wards to shine in their all-yellow colours.

Bolstered by their haul of eight winners at their inaugural season, they pledged even more support to Kok, but the news of the 2024 closure threw a spanner in the works.

“It’s a real shame the City Gold Stable is leaving. They were keen on Singapore racing, and had even bought more yearlings for me,” said Kok who sits third on the log on 23 winners, and is enjoying one of his best seasons in 16 years of training.

“But when they found out racing was closing down in October 2024, like everybody else, they weren’t quite sure what to do next.

“They carried on for a while, but with only four months left, they see no point in staying.

“They’re not interested in racing their horses anywhere else either. So, they’ve decided to sell their remaining six horses.

“The Phan Three Three Stable has bought their horses and will rename them soon, mostly with the word “Boss” in them.”

As it turned out, two of them will race under the new ownership on June 22, but using their original names – City Gold Friend and Citygold Lightning.

A two-time winner by Super One, City Gold Friend contests the opener, the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 race (1,400m) while Citygold Lightning, a Preferment three-year-old with only the one win on board, runs in the penultimate event, the $30,000 Class 5 race (1,600m).

Kok gave them each-way chances in putting the City Gold brand name up in lights for one last time, with a slight preference towards Citygold Lightning.

“Citygold Lightning just ran in the Singapore Guineas, he finished second-last (to Ace Of Diamonds). This will be a lot easier,” said Kok.

“This horse needs a strong rider, that’s why I booked Ruan Maia. He’s drawn wide (11), but he gets back, I think he’ll be competitive.

“City Gold Friend is dropping from Class 4 to Class 5. He also needs a strong rider, but in the end, it was more important to put a claimer on because of his 59kg.”

Kok has picked one-kilo claimer Krisna Thangamani for the job. The Malaysian is not the strongest jockey but is riding in a rich vein of form at the moment.

Kok, however, said his best chance of the day lay elsewhere – Smart Star in the $50,000 Class 4 race (2,000m).

The Star Witness five-year-old emerged as one of the stable’s up-and-comers at end-2023 with two straight wins over 2,000m and 1,600m in Class 4 company.

He was immediately tagged as a Singapore Gold Cup hopeful, but has not done his rating (currently 67) any favours by winning only one race in 2024, another Class 4 event, over 1,700m on Jan 14.

Kok said the heavy imposts his charge had been slapped with were the main factors for his last four defeats, albeit he was placed at the last three starts.

To him, he stays on course for the grand final, Singapore’s last $1.38 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) on Kranji’s last day of existence, Oct 5.

“He’s my Gold Cup horse. The owner (Smart Bet Stable) won the race with Smart Bet (2002) and want to win it again,” he said.

“He’s maintained his form. I’m only worried about the 59kg. Weight can stop a train.

“He would have carried less in Class 3, but there were no suitable Class 3 races over a distance for him, all Class 4.

“Still, even with the big weights, he is always running on. He’s genuine but had no luck, he was caught wide a few times.

“(Bernardo) Pinheiro knows the horse and knows how to ride him. He’s my best chance of the day.”

Kok had also entered last-start winner Smart One, but scratched the impressive last-start winner (June 9) by Snitzel.

“I entered Smart One in case we didn’t have enough runners,” he said. “He won two weeks ago. I’ll find a race for him another day.”