Two talents for Ong's barn, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Two talents for Ong's barn

He takes charge of Mr Clint and So Hi Class, both running in today’s penultimate event

By the lofty standards he set himself last year, it must seem like a quiet start to the new season for trainer Jason Ong.

Three meetings and 21 runners later, he has only a winner to show. That was Blitz Power, who took the Class 5 event over 1,400m last Saturday. But the 33-year-old trainer is not pushing any panic buttons.

He knows there is a long way to go and, in time, his stable will begin to show results.

If you recall, last season saw Ong saddle 26 winners to finish as the top local trainer at Kranji.

He said in an interview recently that he is replenishing his barn and expects to see results in the latter part of the season. Well, the replenishing has begun.

Ong was recently offered the opportunity to take over two tried-and-tested gallopers. Needless to say, he grabbed the chance.

The horses were 2019 Singapore Gold Cup winner Mr Clint and the Irish-bred middle-distance performer So Hi Class.

Ong has not mucked around once he secured their takeovers. They came to him race-ready, even if Mr Clint might be more ring-rusty, having not raced since May.

But so far so good. Ong gave the pair a couple of blowouts in barrier trials and he came away happy with their showings.

Indeed, he is even ready to run them in races and both will see action in the same race today – the $75,000 Class 2 sprint over 1,400m, which is the main race of the day.

“Owners were aware that the Al-Rashid Stable (So Hi Class’ owner) were cutting down on their numbers. A lot of us were keen to buy their horses and, as I myself did not have any horses of that high ratings, I was keen to add them to my yard,” said Ong.

Mr Clint has a rating of 97, while So Hi Class is at 83.

“Some partners were interested in So Hi Class and each one of them took a share in him.

“So Hi Class has trialled really well. The 1,400m may be too short for him first-up but he’s fit enough.

“As for Mr Clint, it was different as the owner (Tan Aik Pheng) just bought him from Al-Rashid and put him with Alwin Tan.

“He never got a chance to run for Alwin as the owner then decided to send him over to me.”

Though Mr Clint, a Power seven-year-old, has not been seen since his unplaced effort in the Group 1 Kranji Mile last May, Ong said he received him in good order from Tan, who had already prepped him up nicely.

“He’s a good old horse who’s still very keen in his trackwork. When he has company, he wants to lead,” said Ong.

“Obviously, he has wear and tear issues, so we’ve spent a bit of time with him and worked with the Singapore Turf Club vets to get him right.

“The 1,400m will also be too short for him, but let’s see how it all goes.”

Ong will be a fairly busy man this afternoon with eight other entries, including a debutant, Song Of Nature, in the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m.

In four barrier trials, the All Too Hard three-year-old was placed three times, and will be ridden by Koh Teck Huat, his trial rider in the last three.

“I’m happy with his preparation. His trials were pretty good,” said Ong. “He’s still very raw, though. I am just hoping that he can handle raceday conditions.”