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No Guineas, but greater good for Greatham Boy

Fitzsimmons vindicated in decision to steer 3YO from G2 feature towards softer option

Tim Fitzsimmons was proven right to not press Greatham Boy towards the Singapore Guineas on May 18.

He lowered his aim towards a Class 4 Division 2 1,200m race, which was also worth only a third of the Group 2 Singapore Guineas’ $150,000 purse.

The upshot was a return to Greatham Boy’s best with a come-from-behind, ½-length win as the $14 favourite under visiting jockey Chad Schofield.

The winning strategy underscores Fitzsimmons’ willingness to change horses in midstream for the common good.

The 2023 season’s leading juvenile was tipped as one of the early front runners in the three-year-old series in 2024, but his showings in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) and Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m) fell short of expectations.

The son of Stratosphere did have excuses in the Sprint, though.

He was chopped off by eventual winner Ace Of Diamonds at the 200m.

He was unable to regain his momentum, albeit he was already a beaten horse, and ran sixth.

But there were no factors to mitigate his fifth place to Lim’s Bighorn in the Classic.

Despite having every chance in the box seat, he did not quicken. The one-paced run to the line drove home only one message.

“He did not stay at his last start,” said Fitzsimmons. “We dropped the Guineas.

“That Class 4 race over 1,200m was perfect for him. The horse has been working well, he won his trial last week, he was in great form.

“The rain was the only query as he’s never run over a rain-affected track before, but he got through it very well.”

Greatham Boy was one of the best away from his awkward alley, but Schofield opted early to take a drop on the pacesetters.

It, however, took the best part of the home straight for the previous three-time winner (1,100m to 1,200m) to go through his gears.

As Stop The Water (Bruno Queiroz) and Rubik Kid (Krisna Thangamani) fought out the finish, Greatham Boy looked safely held a couple of lengths astern.

It was not until Schofield angled him out towards daylight that he finally lengthened up to beat Rubik Kid by half-a-length.

Stop The Water took third place, another ¾-length away, nosing leader Pacific Atlantic (Daniel Moor) out of a podium finish.

The winning time, for the 1,200m on the long course, of 1min 9.96sec was not the fastest time clocked, but he will now get many chances to improve on it.

“At least, we know we’ll keep him to 1,200m from now on,” said Fitzsimmons.

“It was great for his big bunch of owners. Chad also gave him a patient ride.”

The Sydney-based English jockey had been well prepared for his first pairing on Greatham Boy.

“They rolled along early, and I had him in a handy spot,” he said.

“On the long course, I knew I had to sit and wait as long as possible.

“He wasn’t too comfortable, but I know he would quicken once I got him into the clear.

“He was one of my best chances. Tim always places his horses well.

“You know when he gives you a leg-up on his horses, they are in with a chance.”

The pair actually combined for another win in the opener when $19 favourite Buuraq Sixty-One made all in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 1,200m race.

The early salute ensured that Schofield’s record of at least one win at his hit-and-run missions – his fourth this time in – was maintained.

Unfortunately, he could not deliver at his main assignment on Golden Monkey in the Group 1 Kranji Mile. From the outermost alley, he rode Fitzsimmons’ stable star for luck at the rear.

Golden Monkey, on whom he claimed the Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1,400m) on Feb 11, made ground through the field, but had to settle for third to Kranji’s undisputed champion, Lim’s Kosciuszko.

Fitzsimmons was not without a runner in the Singapore Guineas either, with June (Mark Zahra) running an eye-catching fourth to Ace Of Diamonds.

manyan@sph.com.sg

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