Trust in Bold Thruster
Trainer Clements-jockey Beuzelin combo can gain big consolation with Group 2 Merlion Trophy victory
The trainer Michael Clements-jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin partnership will be looking forward to gaining a big consolation in Sunday's $250,000 Merlion Trophy in Race 12 at Kranji, after letting the $1 million Kranji Mile slip away at the shadows of the winning post last Sunday.
The combination again has the favourite in a successive feature, with Bold Thruster, who is in his prime and should lord over his eight Group 2 Merlion Trophy rivals.
Last Sunday, their Countofmontecristo started as the $11 top fancy in the Group 1 Kranji Mile but finished third in a race which certain quarters felt the horse hit the front too soon.
This allowed the sweepers like Aramaayo and "The Count's" stablemate Top Knight to sail past by just half a length and a short head.
Ever the gentleman, Beuzelin admitted it wasn't the best of his rides. He could have won if he had ridden with a bit of restraint, like when they captured the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy in mid-February.
The affable Frenchman is no stranger to Bold Thruster. He rode the Tivic Stable-owned prolific five-year-old to victory last start in the Group 3 Silver Bowl over 1,400m.
That was Bold Thruster's fifth Group 3 success from nine wins in 16 starts.
The run before, it was champion jockey Vlad Duric who was the pilot in the Fortune Bowl triumph.
When prepared by last Sunday's Kranji Mile-winning trainer Shane Baertschiger, Bold Thruster won the Rocket Man Sprint and Saas Fee Stakes with Barend Vorster atop, and the JBBA Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint with John Powell in the saddle.
The horse is honest and all class. He should prove hard to beat in the Merlion Trophy over the Poly 1,200m on Sunday.
Beuzelin has ridden the Australian-bred gelding to two trial victories leading to the race.
Last Thursday morning, his mount produced a mighty effort to win the trial in one of the fastest times for the Poly 1,000m, 58.29sec.
He beat the James Peters-trained nine-time winner Skywalk, his main Merlion Trophy challenger.
It is evident that Bold Thruster is bursting out of his skin now. It will take a very good horse to run him down.
But, while his form and fitness are not in doubt, the only fear is that the horse could be his own nemesis. He has a history of blowing the start.
He has not in his last two Group 3-winning starts, but he stood at barrier-rise at the preceding Group 3 New Year Cup. But he showed his class by running on third behind Nowyousee and Skywalk.
So, if Bold Thruster breaks cleanly on Sunday, expect Clements and Beuzelin to raise the glass in celebration.