Golden Monkey set for Singapore Derby

Golden Monkey set for Singapore Derby

4YO’s Stewards’ Cup win shows that he’ll have no problem handling the 1,800m  

Like most of his Sunday’s Singapore Derby rivals, Golden Monkey has not attempted the 1,800m trip.

But one thing is plain to see: The Tim Fitzsimmons-trained and Jig Racing/Elvin Stable-owned star showed in his last-start victory in the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup over 1,600m that he should handle it with aplomb.

In fact, Golden Monkey was also racing over 1,600m for the first time in the Stewards’ Cup.

But, ridden quietly from behind by visiting jockey Chad Schofield, he came with a barnstorming run in the straight to score emphatically by two lengths.

The $6 favourite Super Salute, who was bidding for his eighth straight success, found no answer to the finishing burst of the horse he beat in Group 2 EW Barker Trophy and the Group 3 Silver Bowl (both over 1,400m).

That race appeared to have exposed Super Salute’s vulnerability over 1,600m, what more 1,800m?

But, having said that, it could be a case of bad luck for Super Salute that day.

He could have used up too much too early after crossing in from a wide draw to chase the tearaway leader Flaming Migliore and hit the front too soon when Flaming Migliore ran out of steam.

Being the good horse that he is, Super Salute deserves another chance. A win will give trainer Richard Lim a chance Derby success.

This will be Super Salute’s first start under him. He just took over the horse from Jason Lim, who was disqualified for 18 months after his January winner Takhi tested positive to a prohibited substance.

Back to Golden Monkey, his connections always spared no expense to fly in the best jockey.

Melbourne Cup and Singapore Gold Cup-winning Mark Zahra was brought in twice – for a third in the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1,200m) and his second in the Silver Bowl.

Craig Williams, another Melbourne Cup and Singapore Gold Cup-winning jockey, rode Golden Monkey to second place behind Horse of the Year Lim’s Kosciuszko in a Class 1 event (1,200m).

Then came his last start with Schofield in the Stewards’ Cup.

His connections had wanted to engage Hong Kong-based Hugh Bowman, but the top Australian hoop had commitments in the former British colony.

With Hong Kong racing taking a summer break, Bowman will hop aboard Golden Monkey on Sunday.

He praised Schofield for the perfect ride – the horse stayed when ridden quiet. He also trusts his mount’s staying ability.

“The best thing was not that he won, but he showed he will get the Derby trip, if ridden the right way,” noted the four-time New South Wales champion.

Invincible Tycoon and Dream Alliance may also be going over 1,800m for the first time, but the way they closed in for third and fourth respectively in the Stewards’ Cup suggested they should handle it, too.

The interesting Derby runner is debut winner Cavalry. He is a proven stayer, having won up to 2,200m in New Zealand.

But whether he will be a victim of the second-run syndrome is left to be seen. He is backing up from 1,400m to 1,800m in just 15 days.

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