By Bob Kieckhefer
Heavy rain from a tropical thunderstorm plagued track work hours May 17 at Kranji as the foreign contingent for the Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sin-I) and KrisFlyer Sprint (Sin-I) stretched their legs.
Hours later, as typically warm and humid conditions followed the rain, most of the international raiders were drawn comfortably for Singapore's signature events May 20, both on turf.
California Memory, looking for a renewal of the form that found him on top in last year's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup, drew barrier No. 6 for Sunday's 10-furlong Cup. Trainer Tony Cruz, who saw the 6-year-old gray settle for 12th in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I)) and fifth in the Audemars Piguet QE II Cup (HK-I) in Hong Kong, said he is hoping for a change of luck in switching riders from Matthew Chadwick to Felix Coetzee.
"I've had a good relationship with Felix over a long time and maybe he should have ridden him last year," Cruz said.
Zazou, fifth in this year's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), drew the No. 2 spot for the Cup. Veteran Hong Kong competitor Thumbs Up got gate No. 11, just outside Godolphin's City Style, who comes off a third-place showing in the Dubai Duty Free.
French-based Chinchon, winner of the Prix Exbury (Fr-III) two starts back, will start in the middle at gate 7. "I am also happy it keeps raining," said exercise rider Jean-Luc Hanot. "The more it rains, the better it is for us." The other French starter, Dream Peace, drew No. 9.
A field of nine signed on for the six-furlong KrisFlyer Sprint but the anticipated rematch between locally based star Rocket Man and Krypton Factor, the horse who beat him in March in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), fizzled when Rocket Man was withdrawn with a nagging injury.
Krypton Factor, based in Bahrain, drew post No. 8. Better Be the One, who ran second to Rocket Man in the recent Lion City Cup (Sin-I), is just outside him in gate No. 9.
Trainer Fawzi Nass scrubbed a planned workout over the soggy course Thursday morning because Krypton Factor pulled a shoe the previous day while walking. Nass said he will work the Dubai winner May 18 on the Polytrack instead.
"I normally give my horses a final hitout four to five days before the race," he said. "It'll now be two days from race day. But he's a tough horse and it should not be a problem."
Irish-based Invincible Ash, who wintered in Dubai with limited success, was installed in post No. 6 for the KrisFlyer.