Current Singapore trainers’ table-topper Shane Baertschiger is hoping Preditor does not draw too close to the running rails in the S$1 million Raffles Cup (1600m) on Sunday.
To the bang-in-form Australian trainer, the fact that Preditor had to come on the inside of runners at his last start in the Moonbeam Vase (1600m) on September 2 might have made the difference between winning and losing.
The Savabeel six-year-old jumped reasonably well to land in fifth on the rails – a dream run in transit for most.
But in the home straight, he was still hard up against the fence with a line of five to six runners spread across the track on his outside once he put the weakening pacesetter Andado astern.
That was where he could not quite put the race away. He did make some inroads, but seemed to be going on the one spot for jockey John Powell, eventually winning the battle for the minors by a short head from Mr Clint, 1 ¼ lengths off the winner Nova Strike.
In contrast, when he looped the field from barrier 14 at his previous start in the Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m), he just sprouted wings inside the last 200m for Hong Kong apprentice jockey Matthew Poon.
“He’s much better on the outside, he’s won from the middle of the pack. He doesn’t quicken as well when he is on the inside,” said Baertschiger
who holds a two-win lead on Lee Freedman.
“In the Jumbo Jet, we saw it. He had an uninterrupted run on the outside and just flew home.
“But the horse has been in great form this prep. Last year, he had excuses in the Derby and then he had a spell.
“Ever since he’s won over 1400m in a Kranji Stakes A race in April, he’s been very consistent. He’s a typical Savabeel, a late maturer.”
Baertschiger said Preditor, an entire he also owns, has come on further since his last start.
“All’s good with him. He’s done very well since his last run,” he said.
“He’ll have one last gallop tomorrow and I hope he runs a good race on Sunday.”
Baertschiger also saddles another horse racing in his pink and red hooped colours, Blue Swede (x O’Reilly) in the other feature race of the day, the S$150,000 El Dorado Classic (2000m), a race which has been brought forward by one month this year, hence making it less of the Singapore Gold Cup trial it used to be in the last nine years when staged three weeks before the blue riband.
As opposed to Preditor, Baertschiger is a lot less bullish with the veteran campaigner and winner of eight races, who has not saluted since July 2017.
“Blue Swede is eight and not running in great form. It’ll be tough for him,” he said. -STC