Horse Racing
Legend strikes again in Kranji Mile

By David Morgan in Singapore
25/05/2019 23:20

Southern Legend again runs away with the Kranji Mile.
Southern Legend again runs away with the Kranji Mile.

Southern Legend demolished his SIN G1 Kranji Mile rivals for the second year in succession, quickening to an imposing win in Singapore’s invitational feature tonight (Saturday, 25 May).

The Caspar Fownes-trained six-year-old had two and a half lengths on his rivals, with former Hong Kong galloper Blizzard second and fellow Sha Tin raider Singapore Sling in third.

“That was probably a career best, a big effort – I think it’s his best performance,” Zac Purton said of the Boniface Ho-owned gelding.

Hong Kong’s champion jockey enjoyed a sweet run on the lead last year; this time he tucked on the rail, one back, stalking the Karis Teetan-ridden Singapore Sling.

“When Singapore Sling went forward like he did, I thought ‘great’ – I just knew from experience that he’s not effective like that so I was happy to let him go, let him use his energy and then wait for the last quarter to do our job. It set the race up for us,” Purton opined.

“Southern Legend travelled very well, he was in a lovely spot and I was happy the way the race unfolded.”

Southern Legend scores under Zac Purton.

Purton eased the bay off the fence midway down the long home straight. Southern Legend flicked through the gears and surged away.

“It was pretty exciting!” Fownes said after claiming his fifth Kranji major, having tasted international G1 success here previously with Green Birdie and Lucky Nine.

And the trainer was particularly delighted to see his talented charge put behind him a sub-par run in the G1 Dubai Turf (1800m) at Meydan in March.

“It’s always good to bounce back off a disappointing race in Dubai. He loves Singapore, he was looking a treat the last couple of days so I was very happy,” Fownes said.

Purton hailed Fownes for his ability to return Southern Legend to a peak and show that not every horse that travels to Meydan leaves its form there.

“I think Caspar had him in better form than last year and that’s a great credit to him because the horse went to Dubai and was probably a little bit disappointing for us there. He’s bounced back and produced probably a personal best run tonight. Caspar’s done a very good job,” the Australian ace said.

Hong Kong interests dominate

Blizzard (outside) edges Singapore Sling for second behind Southern Legend.
Blizzard (outside) edges Singapore Sling for second behind Southern Legend.

The difficulty of third-placed Singapore Sling’s task seemed to have increased when Tony Millard’s charge drew gate 10 at Thursday’s barrier draw, and so it proved.

“There was no speed in the race, there was nothing I could do,” Teetan said. “I was drawn outside and when you come out two lengths clear across Southern Legend, I couldn’t yank him back behind slow horses, so the only option was to let him go. He was a little bit keen but it was just the draw – there was nothing faster than him to lead him.”

The South African-bred galloper was on his toes going onto the turf track and was ponied to the start.

“I don’t think it affected him,” Teetan said. “The horse was well – it was just the draw that killed us.”

Hong Kong jockeys filled the first three places with Aldo Domeyer buzzing after the former Ricky Yiu inmate Blizzard ran on gamely to take second, this time for his Singapore trainer Lee Freedman.

“I felt like I’d had a winner!” Domeyer said. “That was a great run – it’s always tough against the Hong Kong horses but he travelled beautifully. Zac moved out and I moved out with him; I thought we were going a fraction soon but it felt the right thing to do. It was a cracking run.”

Cup on the cards

Caspar Fownes (right) celebrates another Singapore success.
Caspar Fownes (right) celebrates another Singapore success.

With Beauty Generation dominating the mile ranks at home, Fownes is likely to build Southern Legend towards the 10-furlong G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup through the first part of next season.

“Now it’s a case of going back to Hong Kong and we’ll look forward to next season. He’s versatile, he’s won from 1200 metres and he ran a bottler in the Gold Cup at 2000 metres so when he’s on his game he’s going to run a cracking race,” the handler said.

“We’ve got Beauty Generation to contend with at a mile so it just makes it really hard but we’ll keep trying – racing’s a funny game and a lot of things can change in a short period of time. At this stage we’d look at 2000 metres in December but we’ll look at what Exultant does and at what Rise High does.

“Rise High is a very good horse, especially when he gets to 2000 metres. He’s going to be a serious horse with the right preparation leading into 2000 metres. He’s a good horse,” he added.

Rise High and Exultant will contest the G1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup (2400m) tomorrow (Sunday, 26 May).