Spoiler’s role for City Gold forward
Kok’s debut runner-up can upset favourites General Command and Gold Ten Sixty-One
All eyes will be on General Command and Gold Ten Sixty-One, the two protagonists in the last of 11 races at Kranji on Saturday.
Much has been reported on the two horses fighting for favouritism in the $70,000 Class 3 race over the Polytrack 1,200m.
For the record, the Jason Lim-trained General Command won his first two races and missed a hat-trick when going down gallantly to Silent Is Gold.
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons’ Gold Ten Sixty-One has won four times, including his last start and is primed for Saturday’s task with a nice third in his barrier trial on March 23.
Indeed, both horses look hard to beat.
But, standing in the corner, is a horse who can upset the pair. He is trainer David Kok’s promising new sprinter, City Gold Forward.
Kranji race-goers already took notice of the Australian import from Day 1.
The five-year-old by the fashionable Sebring had arrived with three wins and three placings from 12 starts Down Under, where he raced as Litchfield County.
He performed well in two trials – for a third and then a second – and was sent out as the $14 favourite in his debut on Feb 25.
Beaten for early pace, he dropped back to near last.
Like Saudi club Al-Nassr new striker Cristiano Ronaldo, City Gold Forward came swooping home down the outside but failed to catch Gold Ten Sixty-One by two lengths.
That was over the sharp Poly 1,000m and the extra 200m on Saturday will suit. Two of his three wins back home were over 1,200m.
Kok is happy with that effort and has seen his charge improved.
But, of course, he is wary of the two favourites and trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s class dropper Pennywise.
“City Gold Forward has had five weeks between that run and Saturday, and trialled well the other day even though he finished only fourth,” said the Ipoh-born naturalised Singaporean.
“It was just an easy trial to maintain his condition. He’s ready to go, but the field is quite open.
“That 1,000m debut was too short for him. There were not many Class 3 races for sprinters, so we ran him 1,000m first-up to see how he would perform.
“It was too sharp, but he ran home very well. The pace was too fast and he came from ninth at the 800m and sixth at the 400m to finish second.
“He flew home on the outside with a fast sectional. He is a pure sprinter – 1,200m in his distance.
”Gold Ten Sixty-One looks the hardest to beat on Saturday. Pennywise is always a danger. He’s a proven Polytrack horse in the higher classes and won a Group 3 (2019 Colonial Chief Stakes). He’s down in Class 3 and must be respected.”
City Gold Forward is one of 10 thoroughbreds Kok trains for his Hong Kong owners, who race horses in other parts of the world but are new in Singapore.
The other debutant on the same day City Gold Forward ran in City Gold Stable’s all-yellow silks was City Gold Warrior, who finished 10th behind Bransom.
Two of the stable’s new horses – City Gold Star and City Gold Galaxy – took part in the trials on Thursday.
City Gold Star, a one-time winner from seven starts in Australia as Covert – caught the eye with his one-length second to Rocketship, who clocked 59.73sec for the Poly 1,000m.
City Gold Star also dipped below the one-minute mark (59.90).
City Gold Galaxy, unplaced in his only Australian start as The Bailiff, finished sixth behind Teardrops (59.97) in 1min 02.45sec.
“Both will race next week,” said the 49-year-old Kok, who has saddled five winners and seven seconds from 59 runners this season.
But, for now, he is banking on City Gold Forward to strike on Saturday for his new owners.
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