Trainer James Peters works from home, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Trainer James Peters works from home

Kranji-based Englishman is on 14-day Stay Home Notice after returning from his UK holiday

Trainer James Peters has five runners at Kranji tonight, including Skywalk in the $100,000 Class 1 event, but he won't be at the races to saddle up his horses.

The 36-year-old Englishman is not calling in sick but he has been training from his Singapore home for almost two weeks.

The reason is that he is on a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN), after returning from a holiday in England, where he attended the Cheltenham races.

He and his girlfriend Nicola came back on March 20 and were not able to beat the deadline of 11.59pm on March 16 set by the Ministry of Health for passengers flying in from Europe, if they were to avoid the SHN imposed because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Peters has had no choice but to work from home since his return. But he said it has been business as usual, even if he had not seen his horses in the flesh.

He just had to tweak his operations around three main items: Delegation, reliable staff and technology.

"Obviously, it's not an ideal situation, I could write a book about the whole thing - holiday cut short, changing air tickets, applying for SHN, et cetera, but the most important thing is I'm well, and so is Nic," he said.

"At the stables, it's been business as usual, as best as we could. The only thing which is different is I can't see the horses. I have to rely on what Mick Lockett and Zairi Othman see and report to me.

"For example, if they see something and are not happy with the condition of a horse, say he is too heavy or too light, they will let me know and I then make a decision.

"With technology nowadays, they can send me videos and updates, which I also use to send to the owners.

"On Sunday, I will spend half an hour with Mickey going through the programme for the next meeting. We will get through the runners and work out what is going on, and again when the weights are out.

"I would say there is not much difference, as there is already a routine in place. The training programme is already set, the horses are fit and are just kept ticking over.

"They know when the horses have to gallop. It's not too difficult, especially when I have Mickey and Zairi, as well as a good team to look after the horses."

Peters will come out of self-isolation tomorrow.

This means he will miss tonight's meeting, in which he has Ma Bao Bao in Race 4, Black Jade in Race 5, emergency acceptor Overcoming in Race 6, Skywalk in Race 7 and Arc Triumph in Race 8.

After a smack-up third to My Dreamliner in a Kranji Stakes A race over the Polytrack 1,100m on Feb 29, Skywalk has a realistic chance although the eight-time winner is tackling a rather open $100,000 Class 1 race over 1,200m on Polytrack.

"Skywalk trialled well the other day (second to Gingerella on March 26). Other than that 1,400m race (Group 3 Fortune Bowl in January), which was a throw at the stumps, he has been consistent at his last four or five starts," said Peters.

"He carries the top weight (after War Affair) and will have to give weight to those lower-rated horses, which is never easy, but I'm sure he'll run well."

Peters is also hopeful with Black Jade first-up in the $85,000 Class 2 race over Poly 1,600m on Polytrack. His two-time winner has not raced since his superb second to Pennywise in the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes over 1,600m on Dec 8.

" I'm pretty pleased with him. His comeback was delayed but I'm happy with his trial (same as Skywalk) and he likes the Polytrack.

"We'll see how he goes first-up. The 1,600m is a question mark fitness-wise, but he has a light weight (52kg), which will help."

Peters, who has not saddled a winner since Feb 29 when Overcoming and Siam Warrior handed him a double, has booked Michael Rodd and Alysha Collett on Skywalk and Black Jade respectively.