Horse Racing
Legend to the fore as Fownes eyes more Singapore glory

By David Morgan in Singapore
25/05/2018 14:46

Southern Legend exercises at Kranji this morning.
Southern Legend exercises at Kranji this morning.

Caspar Fownes was not at the barrier draw party at Singapore’s downtown Clarke Quay on Thursday (24 May) night when Southern Legend was handed gate one for the SG1 Kranji Mile, but the trainer has no intention of missing out in Saturday’s (26 May) main event. 

Fownes is intent on making the best of the innermost gate in the field of 13, and if that means his charge must take control of the pace, so be it.

“Absolutely, he could lead,” the trainer emphasised. “I’m not worried about that at all, he’s a fit horse. You’d be happy with barrier one almost any time – we’re making our own luck now.”

That was shortly after Fownes, dressed in his usual track work attire of shorts and t-shirt, had observed Southern Legend continue the big-race build-up at Kranji this morning (Friday, 25 May).

The five-year-old has proven to be a versatile galloper this term. Since advertising his merits with charging deep runs earlier in the campaign, the Australian import has more recently shown his adaptability. An all-the-way Class 1 victory two starts back preceded a handy sit-and-sprint to third in the G1 Champions Mile.

Southern Legend makes all to win at Sha Tin

“He’ll be in a prominent position; we won’t be giving up the lovely gate. We know the horse is very versatile, he’s won from the back and he’s won leading, so we’ll use that to our advantage and then it’s up to Zac (Purton) to ride his race,” Fownes said.

“Now it’s a case of looking at his class to get him through. He’s on the improve all the time and he’s going to keep improving over the next few months as well; I think after the summer break we’ll see the best of this horse.”

Southern Legend – the highest-rated racer in the line-up thanks to an international mark of 115 – has appeared sprightly in his track work the past two mornings, despite the fact that the first of his nine races this term was back on 3 September, the first day of the Hong Kong season.

“It’s always hard at the end of a Hong Kong season and he’s been up a long time. But he’s given no indication that he’s flat in any way, if anything he’s come over here and he’s really enjoyed the trip so far. The horse is happy, I’m very happy; he’s in a good place.”

Southern Legend heads into the Kranji Mile off a good run in the G1 Champions Mile

Southern Legend this morning followed the same routine as on Thursday, trotting down and up the back-side gallop before taking to the Polytrack for a fluid canter, twice around the left-handed circuit. The bay has never raced in that direction.

“You always worry a little bit but he’s given no indication that going left-handed is a problem. His rider is very happy with him and says he’s perfect going this direction,” said Fownes, who is looking for another big night in the Lion City.

“We’ve had a lot of good nights here,” he said, recollecting Green Birdie’s G1 sprint win and Lucky Nine’s back-to-back victories in the same defunct feature. “It’s been a good spot for us, even in defeat – Military Attack, Bowman’s Crossing, Sanziro – so hopefully we can get back to winning ways here on Saturday!”

The inaugural open edition of the Kranji Mile marks an end to Singapore’s three-year hiatus from staging international races. The contest also features New Zealand G2 winner Ocean Emperor and former Hong Kong-trained galloper Circuit Land, successful in a local G2 contest last time out.