Circuit on a Gold Cup mission

Trainer Peters’ stayer runs on Polytrack this week, ahead of grander Group 1 assignments

With Singapore’s last two big races just around the corner, Kranji’s usual A-listers like Lim’s Lightning, Katak or Michael Clements’ middle-distance stalwarts would get the most press.

But one horse who does not spring into the mix as often, and who should probably deserve more respect, is Circuit Mission.

Not only did the five-time winner redeem himself from his Kranji Mile failure at his last two starts, but the form shown would not peg him too far off the top echelon.

In a Class 3 mile on June 4, the seven-year-old Irish-bred son of High Chaparral defeated Relentless in sensational time. 

Three weeks later, Relentless won the Stewards’ Cup (1,600m).

Circuit Mission then ran second to Katak in a Kranji Stakes A race over 2,000m on July 9, albeit beaten five lengths.

James Peters has not raced the Hong Kong-owned galloper since, but with the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1,800m) up next on Oct 15, the holidays are over.

“I gave him a freshen-up because I felt he needed one ahead of the big races coming up,” said Peters.

“He’s not getting any younger but he’s still racing very well. He’s very consistent, he had a bit of an issue, but we have got on top of it now.

“He was really solid when he beat Relentless and ran second to Lim’s Kosciuszko and Katak, who’s one of the better stayers here.

“The QEII Cup is coming up in five weeks’ time, but it’s the Gold Cup that is his main target. It’s a handicap which is more suitable, whereas the QEII Cup is a weight-for-age race.”

The Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) will be run five weeks after the QEII Cup on Nov 19.

“We had to bring him back for one lead-up run and then it’ll be straight to the QEII Cup and then the Gold Cup,” said Peters. 

Unfortunately, September is the month chosen by the Singapore Turf Club to give the turf track its customary break. 

Owned by Ngo Tai Tak of Circuit Land (2018 Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy winner) fame, Circuit Mission does most of his racing on turf, but his one win in three tries on the all-weather was not lost on Peters.

“He won on Polytrack once when he was with Lee (Freedman),” said the English trainer.

“He trials well on it. I would have preferred turf, but it shouldn’t be an issue.

“Harry (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) knows him well as he won on him before. He will ride him this week.”

Circuit Mission, who will carry only 51.5kg and has drawn barrier No. 8, will not be heading in alone in Saturday’s contest.

“I’m also running Amore Amore, even if it’s a step-up in class, but he’s kept on improving,” said Peters.

“There’s a lack of options for a horse like him. We’ll take a chance with the light weight as he likes the course and distance.

“He ran respectably at his last start, he ran fourth. The winner (In All His Glory) was too good, but the second and third horses were close. He didn’t disappoint.

“Obviously, as he likes the course and distance, I took a chance. If there was easier opposition in another race, I would have run him there.”

Peters has booked Shafrizal Saleh on the Champions Gallery six-year-old, who is also raced by Hong Kong connections, the Lucky Unicorn Stable. 

Amore Amore is handicapped at the minimum weight of 50kg.

“Both galloped yesterday, Circuit Mission on the main track and Amore Amore on the hill track.

They were both nice pieces of work,” said Peters.

“Circuit Mission also trialled well last week (second to Tim Fitzsimmons’ Saturday Class 4 debutant Mr Black Back). Both horses are fit and ready.”

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