Raising Sixty-One eyeing to be 'Chief'
Fitzsimmons’ Poly specialist has to carry only 53kg in Group 3 feature
You have got to doff your hat to Raising Sixty-One. His run in the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup was courageous and admirable.
With his then-rating of 73, he was thought to be out of his depth.
Well, what do we know?
He certainly bruised some egos when taking fourth spot behind that great fella, Lim’s Kosciuszko.
On the day, he also rubbed salt into the wounds of racehorses like Invincible Tycoon, Relentless and Sacred Croix, who were all carrying higher rating points.
He will meet Relentless and Sacred Croix in the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes on Dec 2.
They will be out for blood as each will want to claim the last feature of the 2023 season.
Well, they will have their work cut out for them.
You see, Raising Sixty-One appears to be better than he was when putting together those five wins in his already Illustrious career.
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons has done a mighty fine job getting his five-year-old to, what looks like, peak form.
And how do we know that?
Well, Raising Sixty-One was one of the stars – if not “the star” – at trackwork on Nov 28.
Now racing off a rating of 77, he did not break any land speed records.
He ran out the 600m trip in 40.5sec, but his doggedness was there for all to see.
Right now, Raising Sixty-One is pitch-perfect for the task ahead of him.
Indeed, he is more than that. In the Colonial Chief, he will get – not the grass – but a synthetic feel under his hooves.
And, we know he thrives on that feeling.
All of Raising Sixty-One’s five wins have been on the Polytrack – which makes his showing in the Gold Cup on the turf – all the more commendable.
The 1,700m trip is also right up his alley.
He has won three races over the distance and it could have been four but for that one on Sept 9.
That was when he was beaten by a nose by Saint Tropez as the $11 favourite.
Being a handicap race, Raising Sixty-One slots into the Colonial Chief Stakes with a feather weight of just 53kg.
He may be lacking in rating points but one thing is certain.
Fitzsimmons has had Raising Sixty-One prepared for the race like a hand being fitted for a glove.
That said, opposition will be formidable. There is that other Fitzsimmons-trained galloper Relentless (54kg) and trainer Jerome Tan’s Sacred Croix (56kg).
Both were also on their toes in their gallops and must be treated with utmost respect.
Relentless clocked 40.2 with Vlad Duric atop, while Sacred Croix sizzled in a swift 35.8 under Benny Woodworth.
Relentless did not land a punch in the Singapore Gold Cup, finishing eighth.
But he did put in a big show when fourth to Hongkong Great in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1,800m) on Oct 14.
Like most of the other stayers in the Colonial Chief Stakes, a question mark hangs over his ability to handle the Polytrack.
Sure, he won once on the alternate surface. But that was many moons ago – in a 1,200m race on Oct 10, 2020, to be precise.
However, the trip should not pose a problem. He has since won three races over the mile, and the extra 100m that he has to cover on Dec 2 will be a piece of cake to this six-year-old son of Hallowed Crown.
As for Sacred Croix, he, too, does tread softly on the synthetic surface but he has improved since running seventh in the Gold Cup.
He will carry the hopes of the Raffles Racing Stable.
Sacred Croix was all speed in his workout but, like Relentless, he also could be placed at a disadvantage on the Polytrack.
At nine years old, he is one of the elder statesmen residing at Kranji. But he is still a trier in the old fashioned sense of the word.
Yes, he still does things others think he cannot do or should not be doing. So, keep him in mind when you are mapping out your strategy for those novelty bets.
Do try to find some space for Sacred Croix. He is still worth a punt.
The same goes for Saint Tropez, who is also shouldering 53kg like Raising Sixty-One.
He, too, was all at sea in the Gold Cup (15th) but he did toss in a good workout, clocking 41.9 with Matthew Kellady aboard.
It was on Sept 9 that he won over the track and trip and, with Shane Baertschiger’s yard churning out some good winners recently, Saint Tropez could give those hard workers another reason to cheer.