A game win from favourite Siam Sapphire in the $100,000 Class 2 race over 1200m on Sunday helped Michael Clements cement his top spot on the Singapore trainer’s premiership.
After a hat-trick of wins last Sunday, the Zimbabwean-born trainer, however, fired blanks on Friday night, but such is the depth in his stable that he does not have a muted spell for too long.
Clements’ solitary win for the weekend takes him to 22 winners, five clear of Shane Baertschiger and Steven Burridge.
A four-year-old by Showcasing, Siam Sapphire was rising in class on the back of a convincing win in Class 3 company a fortnight ago, but there is little doubt the postage-stamp weight of 50kgs courtesy of in-form lightweight rider Nooresh Juglall, coupled with a charmed run in the box-seat were the two main contributing factors towards that fifth win for the Pupetch Racing Stable-owned gelding.
“This horse has had a couple of places and on a few occasions, things did not go his way,” said Clements.
“But he loves the Poly and he has rapidly climbed through his grades. Nooresh rode him perfect when he bounced him out of the barriers to get a perfect position.”
When probed whether the Thai-owned galloper could be Merlion Trophy-bound in three weeks’ time, Clements was non-committal. The second Leg of the Singapore Sprint Series is the only Leg run on Polytrack, and will be staged on April 27.
“I suppose the Merlion Trophy is an option but it’s a weight-for-age race, and we’ll have to think about it,” said Clements.
Juglall also sounded cautious in his assessment of such an assignment for Siam Sapphire.
“Mike has done a great job with this horse. I’m just the pilot and I’m grateful for the ride,” said the Mauritian jockey.
“He had only 50kgs tdoay, sometimes it plays out well, sometimes it doesn’t, but luckily, everything went well. It was my plan to follow Nova Missile everywhere as he was the horse to beat and when he rolled off, I went for it and he responded nicely with a good kick.
“I think he’s at this stage more of a handicapper. At level weights, it will be tougher.”
Nova Missile (Benny Woodworth) tried to replicate his last-start all-the-way win by electing for the same blueprint, but it was clear that he wouldn’t be so lucky when he came under siege at the 200m.
As Nova Missile drifted out under pressure, Siam Sapphire ($15), who was snapping at his heels, saw the parting of the Red Sea before him, but Nova Missile was still showing plenty of ticker while Justice Day (Olivier Placais) was also chiming in down the middle.
A few lengths astern, Guilty Pleasures (Craig Grylls) was letting down with a stout challenge on the outside even if he was inclined to lug in, but Siam Sapphire and his featherweight load proved impossible to peg back in the end.
Guilty Pleasures was the one who claimed the runner-up spot three-quarter length away with Nova Missile clinging on for third place another half-length away. The winning time was 1min 12.69secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack.
Siam Sapphire has now taken his record to five wins and six placings from 18 starts for stakes earnings close to the $265,000 mark for the Pupetch Racing Stable.