Cir­cuit Land on golden mis­sion

The New Paper - - RACING - BRIAN MILLER

Freed­man-trained star looks a stand­out in Dester Sin­ga­pore Gold Cup

For a long time now, and in big races es­pe­cially, it is al­ways re­as­sur­ing and re­fresh­ing to see the name “Freed­man” in the train­ers’ bracket be­side the horse of your choice.

And if the name hap­pens to be David Lee Freed­man, so much the bet­ter.

This is a guy who takes no pris­on­ers in a big race and, come Sun­day, in the Dester Sin­ga­pore Gold Cup, he will send out Cir­cuit Land.

Al­ready the talk of the town, race­go­ers have made the sev­enyear-old the likely favourite in the $1.35 mil­lion race.

I will take it a step fur­ther and pick Cir­cuit Land to win the 2,000m con­test.

While tak­ing noth­ing way from the Amer­i­can-bred, his task was made much eas­ier when his neme­sis, the mighty Debt Col­lec­tor, was deemed a non-ac­cep­tor on Mon­day.

In his last two starts – and both were high-class races – Cir­cuit Land had to suf­fer the in­dig­nity of hav­ing sods of turf kicked back into his face by the Cliff Brown-trained Debt Col­lec­tor.

Debt Col­lec­tor went on to claim both the Raf­fles and the QE II Cups.

Fi­nally re­leased from the shackles of Sin­ga­pore’s favourite “Ah Long”, Cir­cuit Land can now con­cen­trate on the task be­fore him while dream­ing of his day in the sun. And, by my reck­on­ing, all that could come sooner rather than later.

In­deed, if ever there was a “Cup horse” – as we like to call it – Cir­cuit Land fits the bill.

Flown in from Hong Kong early in the sea­son, his mis­sion has al­ways been “to win the big races” at Kranji.

So far, he has raced just six times with his big­gest suc­cess be­ing that vic­tory in the Chair­man’s Tro­phy at just his sec­ond Kranji start.

It was “just a $500,000 race” but the way he won it – beat­ing In­fantry – showed us that he was no stranger to ad­ver­sity.

Then came the heartache of be­ing beaten in the Raf­fles and that third-place fin­ish in the QE II. Cir­cuit Land is bet­ter than that.

But noth­ing is cast in stone and, as the Gold Cup al­ways pro­duces great the­atre, the bestscripted plot can some­times be changed.

Yes, strange things do hap­pen and, if the story is to have a dif­fer­ent end­ing, I will have Elite Ex­cal­ibur mak­ing it hap­pen.

Trained by Brown, who sad­dled Gilt Com­plex to win last year’s Gold Cup, Elite Ex­cal­ibur will jump from a “good gate” – No. 2 – and he must be given a huge chance. Michael Rodd, a jockey who knows what it’s like to ride and win big races, will be in the sad­dle.

There could be a rush for the mi­nors and my two roughies will be Clau­dia’s Beauty and Noah From Goa.

Trained by Leslie Khoo, Clau­dia’s Beauty drew Gate 3 and, ac­cord­ing to Khoo, it’s the ideal spot for his mare to get into the race unim­peded.

Like Cir­cuit Land, Noah From Goa was also flown in to con­test the big-money races. So, never mind where he’s from. With the right kind of run and Nooresh Juglall do­ing the steer­ing, he could ar­rive – big time.

That said, The Gold Cup as­ton­ishes me. Al­ways has. Al­ways will. But I won’t be as­ton­ished one bit if Cir­cuit Land tri­umphs and Lee Freed­man lifts the tro­phy in this, his first full sea­son at Kranji.

brian@sph.com.sg

TNP FILE PHOTO

Cir­cuit Land (No. 7) win­ning the the Group 2 Chair­man’s Tro­phy ear­lier this year.

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