By Ian T
Your roving reporter is now safely ensconced in his Singapore Hotel ready to report back from the track with all the comings and goings ahead of this weekends race meeting where we have two Group One’s including a leg of the Global Sprint Challenge. British interest is sadly not as involved as I originally hoped, but we are (sort of) represented by City Style (Mahmood Al Zarooni/Mickael Barzalona), and Alan Munro riding El Dorado in the Singapore Airlines International, while Kieren Fallon rides the ex Sir Mark Prescott trained Krypton factor in the sprint, added to Jane Chapple-Hyam and George Baker who team up with Secret Asset, the only British trained and ridden challenger on the day.
The first thing I have to say is that there is so little coverage in the UK (and I include The Racing Post website) as to be embarrassing – we may consider ourselves the centre of the racing world, we may even be the centre of the racing world – but we are not the only ones putting on the sport and we do need to stop being quite so insular! This country is as beautiful a place as I have ever visited, the racecourse a perfect example of how to set things out to suit horses and spectators alike, and the Singapore Turf Club as welcoming and helpful as any scribe could ask for – happy days indeed, if only it would stop raining and the beer wasn’t £10 a bottle!
Anyway, moaning over and this morning we went to watch the horses do some track work but learn precious little as it was absolutely bucketing it down with rain, much to everyone back home’s amusement. I am never sure of the value of track work or stopwatches as no one has a clue who is flat out or what weight they are carrying, but it does give me a chance to grab a bit of gossip and do some ear wigging, and I need all the help I can get if I am going to try and find a winner. With all the rain falling and predicted to continue), there is every possibility that the going will be soft by Sunday night, something that seems to be a negative for Godolphin challenger City Style by the attitude of some of his connections. As we all know, for every negative there must be a positive, and the French seem delighted with the likely going ahead of Chinchon’s challenge (and try saying that after a couple of beers).
Later in the morning we headed off to the China Square Betting Centre, a massive tote only betting shop that puts everything in the UK to shame, for the Post Position Barrier Draw – i.e. which horse will come out of which stall! All I can say is that the general thought process seemed to suggest a high draw wasn’t good, but as they race on the same track Friday night I will have a much better idea after that, though City Style drew 10 or 13 which added to the going concerns could yet make him a lay.
In general, it is early doors and I will be finding out as much as I can throughout the week, with the double intention of finding us all a winner or two, and showing the World there is racing beyond the UK borders.