Trainer looking for 5th straight Super Salute
Jason Lim banking on Singapore champion Manoel Nunes for the task on Saturday
Singapore’s up-and-coming equine star Super Salute has been a revelation for trainer Jason Lim.
From just five starts at Kranji, the Alan N John Stable’s Australian-bred has won his last four – from Class 4 to Class 2.
His last couple over 1,200m on turf demonstrated his extraordinary sprinting ability – as far as timing is concerned. He clocked 1min 09.13sec, followed by 1:08.83.
It could have been five wins on the trot, if not for a freak incident at his debut on Sept 17, 2022.
Punters who backed him down to $9 favouritism gasped in disbelief when he bounded high on jumping, resulting in jockey Bernardo Pinheiro striking his head on the superstructure of the barrier.
The strapping bay gelding lost precious ground.
As if that was not enough, Super Salute had to be steadied near the 750m when racing in restricted room.
Despite the two setbacks, he finished fourth, less than two lengths behind the winner, Amazing M.
Putting that unlucky episode behind him, Super Salute went on to win his next four starts – with the promise of more in store.
The moment of truth has come for his five-in-a-row bid – in the $85,000 Class 2 event over 1,400m on turf (Race 10) on Saturday.
Can he do it?
Well, his trial victory last Thursday suggests he can. It was swift (59.16sec for the Polytrack 1,000m) and convincing.
The horse is raring to go.
Furthermore, champion jockey Manoel Nunes will be reunited with Super Salute. He boasts a three-from-three record on the horse.
The Brazilian could not make the 50.5kg weight at the gelding’s last start. The ride went to lightweight Malaysian hoop Krisna Thangamani, who claimed ½kg and rode a superb race, to the delight of Lim and his connections.
Now that he is handicapped at 53kg on Saturday, Nunes is welcomed back and his presence will be crucial in Super Salute’s first attempt over 1,400m.
All his five runs at Kranji have been over 1,200m – both on Polytrack and turf.
Lim is happy Super Salute has drawn Gate 1 in the 10-horse affair but reckons it is a “tough field”.
“That’s why it’s very important for us to have Nunes back on,” said the 42-year-old Singaporean.
“He knows the horse so well. He does all the work on him and this horse has quirks, so Nunes’ experience gives me more confidence.
“Krisna did a great job last start. I panicked when he was slow out but Krisna didn’t panic.
“I thought it was a smart ride but, with 53kg this week, it was always going to be Nunes onboard.
“The step-up to 1,400m is also a test, so to have Nunes’ feedback will be critical going forward towards the Silver Bowl in June.”
The $110,000 Group 3 Silver Bowl, which is the first leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge series, will be run over 1,400m on June 11.
The next two legs are the $150,000 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup over 1,600m on July 2 and the $400,000 Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m on July 23.
On Saturday, Super Salute will be meeting some old challengers –including Quarter Back (runner-up) and Silent Is Gold (third) – and giving them some weight advantage.
The Stephen Gray-trained Silent Is Gold looks the biggest threat. He franked the form by winning his last start in Class 3 with 56.5kg and is handicapped at only 50kg.
“Silent Is Gold wasn’t far behind us (less than a length) when we met last start in this same company,” said Lim.
“He has since won well. We are meeting him 3kg worse off, so he can win on Saturday.
“We don’t expect a lot in this race. I will be happy if he runs well towards the 4YO series but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
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