Shadow Gate, Yamanin Kingly ready bid for Singapore Airlines International Cup
Japan's Shadow Gate and Yamanin Kingly have been taken through their paces on schedule and without a hitch in preparation for the ninth running of the Singapore Airlines International Cup on Sunday in Kranji. Seven countries are represented by the 12 horses lined up for the International Cup, as each makes its bid for a share of the $2-million purse (S$3 million). The winner alone will take home just over $1.1 million.
France, Great Britain, South Africa, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates each field one horse in the race. In addition to Japan's two are five contenders from the Singapore home team.
Shadow Gate worked Thursday over 1,200 meters on turf. He took the first 600 meters in 45 seconds, the last in 36.7 seconds and wrapped up with a 12-second furlong. Trainer Yukihiro Kato watched the work and expressed his satisfaction with what he saw.
“He's in the same condition as he was in Japan before he left. I'm happy. His times were what I wanted and they are what he usually clocks.”
Kato did say he wished the track were a bit softer. “It's harder than the last time I was here,” he said, speaking of 2007.
Yamanin Kingly's work was ridden by race jockey Yuichi Shibayama. The horse started off with a trot then did faster work on the polytrack. His time over the last 600 meters was 35.1 seconds, with the last 200 meters run in 11.4 seconds.
“I feel he's used to his surroundings now,” the 32-year-old Shibayama said. “This is my first time overseas, however, and I'm really enjoying it. I do hope we can tie it in with some results.”
“Everything is OK,” said assistant trainer Kenichi Ando of Yamanin Kingly. Ando was overseeing work for trainer Hiroshi Kawachi, not yet in Singapore. “All is on schedule and I was happy with his work this morning.”
Later Thursday at the draw, Shadow Gate's Kato, wishing for an outside slot, instead got the far inside No. 1. After showing his initial disappointment, he said. “Well, it can't be helped. If he breaks well it'll be OK. With this we'll have to have him out fast and hold his ground.” In Singapore, as in Hong Kong, gate positions and race numbers differ. Shadow Gate breaks from the No. 1 gate but is running with the No. 5 saddle cloth.
Assistant trainer Ando did the honors for Yamanin Kingly. He drew the fifth slot. He expressed his satisfaction with the slot, saying “I'd say right smack in the middle is a good place.” Yamanin Kingly carries the No. 7 race number
Race expected top picks Gloria De Campeao, Presvis and Lizard's Desire drew No. 6, 10 and 9, respectively. Al Shemali got the No. 7 gate slot.
The White Muzzle-sired Shadow Gate, out of the Sunday Silence mare Fabulous Turn, Is, naturally, looking for a replay of his 2007 winning run. Now 8 years old, with seven wins in 37 outings both home and abroad, Shadow Gate managed a first-place finish in his last race out, the 2,000-meter Toyota Sho Chukyo Kinen (G3) on March 13. It was his first win since the 2007 Singapore Airlines International Cup, some 18 races before. Over those 18 races his best have been two second-place finishes in Grade 2 races at 2,000 meters and 2,200 meters. Shadow Gate is owned by Tomokazu Iizuka.
Yamanin Kingly has fared somewhat worse in his recent performances. Winless over his last four starts, he is coming off a seventh-place performance in the 2,000-meter Sankei Osaka Hai (G2) on April 4. The 5-year-old (whose birthday is on race day May 16) has not had a win since his first-place finish in the Sapporo Kinen (G2) last August. By Agnes Digital, out of the Sunday Silence mare Yamanin Arena, Yamanin Kingly has had six wins in 21 career starts. Three of those wins were at 2,000 meters, the same distance as the Singapore Airlines International Cup. His best, however, was only at the Grade 2 level. Yamanin Kingly is owned by Hajime Doi.
The Singapore Airlines International Cup was first held in 2000 to mark the official opening of the new Singapore Racecourse in Kranji and was won by Singapore's Ouzo. Italy and the UAE picked up the next two editions but the race was forced to be cancelled in 2003 due to severe acute respiratory syndrome. Germany won in 2004 and Australia made the winner's circle in 2005.
Japan's turn at the big prize came in 2006 with Cosmo Bulk's victory and was repeated the following year by Shadow Gate. South Africa and then France rounded out the well-balanced list of winners from around the world with their performances in 2008 and 2009.v
Of the 12 horses running this years, Yamanin Kingly is currently a far last at the bookmaker betting windows. Top picks are centered around four horses. South Africa's 4-year-old Lizard's Desire and Presvis from the U.K. lead the action, with the Dubai World Cup champion Gloria De Campeao from France and UAE's Al Shemali next. Japan's Shadow Gate figures currently at about eighth choice.
The South Africa-based Lizard's Desire placed second in the Dubai World Cup on March 27 and was second in his next and most recent race, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong on April 25. Trained by 46-year-old Mike de Kock, Lizard's Desire, by Lizard Island, will be ridden by South African jockey Kevin Shea, 47, who was last aboard the horse in Dubai. Lizard's Desire has yet to claim a top-level race.
The Luca Cumani-trained Presvis, runnerup in last year's Singapore Airlines International Cup, ran fifth in his last outing, the Hong Kong Queen Elizabeth II Cup. He is paired, as he was in Hong Kong, with 26-year-old Ryan Moore. Presvis is six for 18 with no Grade 1 wins yet.
Gloria De Campeao, a 6-year-old by Impression, is trained by Pascal Bary. Paired with the horse will be not his usual rider T.J. Pereira, but Brazilian jockey Bruno Reis, 27. Gloria De Campeao is nine for 24, with two Grade 1 wins to his name.
The Medicean-sired Al Shemali, 6, from the UAE, has had one G1 victory, his last race out, the1,800-meter Dubai Duty Free on March 27. He is trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and will be ridden by British jockey Royston Ffrench. Ffrench has taken the reins for Al Shemali's last four races, which included two wins. His career records is four for 18.
Lahaleeb from Bahrain and Jolie's Shinju of Singapore will be carrying 55.5 kg. All others will be carrying 57 kg. Post time is Sunday, May 16, at 8:40 p.m. local time, 9:40 p.m. in Japan.
* Please visit the following websites for more information.
Singapore Turf Club website: http://www.turfclub.com.sg/
Singapore Airlines International Cup website: http://www.siacup.com.sg/
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