Realistic Logan happy with silver
Kiwi trainer concedes defeat even if leader Fitzsimmons not popping bubbly just yet
By Race 3 this Saturday, the winner of the 2022 Singapore trainer’s premiership title race will be signed, sealed and delivered.
Cynics may scoff at the idea of waiting till then.
To them, Tim Fitzsimmons is already home and hosed.
The Australian holds a six-win cushion over Donna Logan, heading towards the last meeting to an 11-month long racing calendar.
A full card over the 12-race programme versus Logan’s 10 runners over seven races already puts Fitzsimmons at unbackable odds to land his first premiership title since taking over Cliff Brown in 2019.
However, even Fitzsimmons refuses to go the early crow despite the Fitzsimmons 3 Logan 1 scoreline on Singapore Gold Cup Day, affording him more breathing space, albeit his Gold Cup favourite Mr Black Back himself was not part of that haul.
“It’s not over yet. There’s still one meeting to go,” he said.
Chances are he was erring on the side of (extreme) caution.
But stranger things have happened in racing, even if the odds are massively stacked against New Zealander Logan, who was bidding to rewrite Singapore racing history by becoming the first woman to land the supreme training title in the Lion City.
Mathematically, Fitzsimmons can still be reeled in over the 12-race programme on Saturday, the last gathering before racing shuts down for a well-deserved Christmas break.
But Logan will absolutely need to score with her first two shots (Charmshaab or Dark Show in Race 2 and Super Posh in Race 3) to keep her faint hopes alive.
Of course, the unspoken caveat here is none of Fitzsimmons’ Intrepid, Popeyethesailorman and The Bullet winning by Race 3. Anything less, and it is game over for Logan.
On 59 winners, she cannot catch Fitzsimmons (65) any more even if her remaining bullets claim their next five races.
Logan is not deluding herself, though.
“I have no chance. It’s done and dusted,” said the down-to-earth trainer.
“Like I said before, I’ve got no new legs. I do have some but they still don’t have any race-day experience.
“But I’m still 100 per cent happy with my season, and so proud of my team and staff. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
A bumper squad of 19 runners fielded last Saturday was Logan’s best shot at cutting the margin – and turning the season’s finale into a cliffhanger.
While the only win from January was cold comfort, she was extremely pleased with Super Impact’s second to Hongkong Great in the big race.
“It was a massive performance from Super Impact. He can only get better next year,” said Logan.
Barring a last-ditch attempt of miraculous proportions from her on Saturday, Fitzsimmons should be popping the champagne he had been keeping on ice for a while now.
Any extra win he picks up at the last meeting will be a bonus to a season that has exceeded his expectations.
But, if there was to be any icing on the cake to a stellar season, the 41-year-old would probably have wished it came about one week earlier.
He had high hopes on his much-vaunted four-pronged attack, headed by lightweight chance Mr Black Back at his very first foray in the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m).
A third from Cyclone was his best showing, while Mr Black Back led but faded to fourth.
Fitzsimmons was a touch wistful about his overall results, but will live to fight another day.
“Cyclone ran a huge race but both he and Mr Black Back (fifth) didn’t have the best prep going into the race,” he said.
“Trumpy (fourth) was super again, he just needs 3,000m, whereas Manoel (Nunes) told me Relentless (11th) was flat.
“It’s been a long season for him and he didn’t have the best gap in between races.
“They’ll all go for a nice break now. I’m looking forward to next season.”