x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hopes are on Always Certain to fly the flag for Singapore

Singapore form has consistently proved to be of the highest order at Meydan Racecourse this season and Michael Freedman is out to underline the point once again tonight.

Vlad Duric will ride Always Certain in the feature race at Meydan tonight as trainer Michael Freedman looks to maintain Singapore’s impressive form in Dubai this year.
Vlad Duric will ride Always Certain in the feature race at Meydan tonight as trainer Michael Freedman looks to maintain Singapore’s impressive form in Dubai this year.

Singapore form has consistently proved to be of the highest order at Meydan Racecourse this season and Michael Freedman is out to underline the point once again tonight.

The Australian handler stands fifth in the trainers' standings in Singapore, one place behind Steven Burridge, who has flown the flag for the island state here this season by registering four winners from just eight runners.

Freedman has raced once before at Meydan when last season his Better Be The One finished third to JJ The Jet Plane in the Al Quoz Sprint but he intends to better that record over the next few weeks.

Better Be The One and Cash Luck have Dubai World Cup night firmly in their sights and Freedman has entered Always Certain in tonight's feature race, the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort. The Comedian also lines up against Godolphin's Delegator and Burridge's Captain Obvious earlier on the card in the Range Rover Evoque Trophy.

"It's been great to see Singapore form hold up with Steven's performances and I just hope that our two can run up to their level," Freedman told The National from Singapore.

"I've known Steven for a long time going back to our time in Australia together but I haven't asked him for any tips as we've simply replicated what we did with Better Be The One last year."

Of his two runners Always Certain would appear to have the best chance of taking Singapore's tally to five winners this season as out of the 13-runner field only Godolphin's Rio De La Plata can match the six-year-old gelding's Group 1 victory.

Always Certain finally made his breakthrough at the highest level in October when winning the Raffles Cup at Kranji Racecourse and was earmarked to be ridden by Johnny Murtagh. The Irishman was forced to miss tonight's meeting, however, which leaves Vlad Duric, who has been riding the horse in track work for the past two weeks, to take the mount.

"I've been very happy with them since they arrived and they have been looked after by James Peters [senior track rider]. He's reported back that they have settled in well. They galloped on Monday on the Tapeta and worked great."

The Comedian cost A$1.7 million (Dh6.7m) as a yearling but the acorn only grew into an oak after the horse was gelded. Coolmore Stud were shrewd enough to have an interest in the Australian-bred six year old and he was sent to Freedman to chase Singapore dollars in place of a career as a stallion. With four wins in his last five runs, The Comedian is beginning to pay back the vast sum paid for him, with tonight's purse of US$250,000 (Dh918,300) a big incentive.

"He came to me to race for prize money and Dubai is just an extension of that," said Freedman. "Although I don't have great knowledge of the form around him all we need is a bit of luck in running.

"Vlad has won on him before at home and has a good understanding of him. I'll have a good chat with him and he'll have to do his homework."

 

sports@thenational.ae