Watch the return of Master Player
Trainer Jerome Tan’s back-to-back winner catches the eye in his 600m hit-out yesterday
Trainer Jerome Tan, whose stable is flying with nine winners in the last eight weeks, will see one of his promising gallopers resuming from a long break to give him another winning shot on Saturday.
Watch out for his aptly named Master Player in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1,200m on turf.
A back-to-back winner from three starts, the Happy Baby Stable-owned four-year-old New Zealand-bred looked fit and ready for his comeback from a knee surgery. He had a sparkling gallop on the main Polytrack at Kranji yesterday morning.
With jockey Wong Chin Chuen astride, the bay gelding worked with gusto over 600m in 37.7sec. He pulled up as fresh as a daisy.
“His workout was good. He ran a good time. The only concern is that he is just coming back from a break,” said Wong, who was one of the horse’s successful riders.
Tan was also impressed with his charge’s splendid hit-out.
“He worked very well, he pulled up good,” said the Singaporean.
Yesterday’s gallops by Saturday’s runners:
“He had a knee-chip surgery after his last win. He’s got no issue now, so hopefully, he can run well.
“I think From The Navy will be the hardest to beat and Speedy Missile has got a chance. There are also a couple of nice horses there.”
Costing only NZ$8,000 (S$7,300) as a yearling, Master Player has proven to be a good buy by Tan for his connections.
The horse has won $27,450 from his two victories, with the promise of more to come.
After a fair sixth behind the useful Renzo (three wins and five placings from 11 starts) in Restricted Maiden last July 10, Master Player made no mistake in an Open Maiden event over 1,200m on a yielding track on Aug 1.
With Wong astride, he tracked a handy fourth-fifth before making his bid in the straight.
Responding well, he charged home to beat Holy Eleanor by a length in 1min 12.34sec.
His subsequent success in Class 5 four weeks later appeared even more impressive.
He won it with a hefty 59kg on his back and he also proved he was equally as good on the Polytrack.
Ridden by A’Isisuhairi Kasim, he again raced up to be handy. He was lucky to secure an economical run by hugging the paint.
The favourite, Star Empire, looked good when he hit the front on straightening.
But A’Isisuhairi had Master Player looming up on his inside.
Star Empire was a bit stubborn in the rush to the line, but Master Player proved himself to be the better horse. He scored by 3/4 lengths in 1:12.17.
Unfortunately, he was found to have a chip on his left knee. Hence, the surgery and the break.
But, with the tender loving care from Tan and his staff, Master Player is raring to go again.
He has had two easy trials – a third on March 29 and a fifth on April 12 – for his return.
The step-up to his brilliant fast gallop yesterday bears testimony that he is spot-on again.
The other star worker was six-wins-in-a-row hero Lucky Jinsha, whose rise from obscurity to be probably the most improved horse at Kranji has been well documented.
The horse, prepared by leading trainer Tim Fitzsimmons, just keeps improving. His 600m blow-out in 39.1 was effortless.
But Saturday’s $85,000 Kranji Stakes B event over 1,400m on turf at set-weights will be his stiffest test.
He will be meeting, among others, three fellow last-start winners – Spirit Of Big Bang, King’s Command and Leatherhead.
While acknowledging his constant improvement, Fitzsimmons said he could only keep his fingers crossed.
“Yes, he worked fantastic. But it’s another class all together this week,” added the Australian.
Indeed, it is.