So High Class, truly
Third in the QE II Cup, the Irish-bred is fit and fresh for his task under new trainer Jason Ong
For the second time this month, the aptly named So Hi Class impressed in his trial at Kranji yesterday morning for his new trainer, Jason Ong.
Although the Queen Elizabeth II Cup third place-getter finished only second on both occasions, the former Michael Clements-trained galloper caught the eye with his fast-finishing effort under jockey Zyrul Nor Azman.
Yesterday morning, So Hi Class was last early with Mr Clint, who was very wide. Five horses disputed the lead. But Nepean and Elite Incredible were soon in front.
Nepean, the $276 shock Group 2 Stewards’ Cup winner in 2020, kicked shortly after straightening. But So Hi Class had sailed smoothly into a striking position.
He beat all but Nepean by 3/4 lengths, but it was clear he was not out to break any records.
Nepean, trained by Shane Baertschiger and ridden by Matthew Kellady, clocked a smart 1min 00.88sec for the Polytrack 1,000m.
A week earlier, So Hi Class was also putting in his best work at the finish when he was second by a similar margin to Class 1 runner Kharisma, who clocked 1:00.56.
Ong’s five-time winner Universal Empire also trialled well under jockey Koh Teck Huat.
The five-year-old Australian-bred hounded Be You from the word go. The pair were a few lengths in front of Preditor, who brought up the rest.
The two leaders had the trial to themselves in the straight. Heads up, heads down they went. Niggled a bit towards the end, Universal Empire scored by a head in 59.82 seconds, the only one of the six winners to dip below one minute.
“I’m very pleased with both my horses’ trials,” said Ong. “They are both scheduled to race next week. But I have to assess them and will run them only if they pull up well from this morning’s trials.
“So Hi Class will have his first run with me. He came to me in good order and has been working well since.
“I had a lot of success with Universal Empire last season. I gave him a short break and he came back really well. He ran a good time this morning. It should top him up for next week.”
Ong has planned So Hi Class in a Class 2 race over 1,400m – making him a class above – and Universal Empire over 1,200m in Class 4.
Based on yesterday’s trials, both must be closely watched.
So Hi Class had four starts in Malaysia under trainer Mohamed Sukri, for a win over 1,600m in Kuala Lumpur, before relocating to Singapore to be under the care of Clements.
The Zimbabwe-born Singaporean trainer enjoyed five wins (four over 1,600m and once over 1,800m) with the horse.
The six-year-old Irish-bred ran in Group 1 in his last three starts for a third to Hard Too Think in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup over 1,800m last October.
He was ninth in the Raffles Cup over 1,600m and seventh in the Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m. Both races were won by the unofficial 2021 Horse of the Year Lim’s Lightning.
Trained by Daniel Meagher, Lim’s Lightning had a soft trial yesterday. His regular jockey, Danny Beasley, allowed him to travel cosily wide and he beat only one home in the trial won by Nepean.
Rested since his Gold Cup victory, he is set to resume soon. His main target is the Group 1 Kranji Mile, the race he lost to Minister last May.