Trainer Laurie Laxon looks to have another Singapore Derby hope on his books after Dujardin saluted in style in Sunday’s $75,000 ST Telemedia Stakes Kranji Stakes C (1900m) on Polytrack.
The New Zealander, whose barn also boasts the likes of Full Toss and Forgiven as other potential contenders for the Emirates-sponsored Group 1 race, said Dujardin’s second-up win certainly put him in good stead for a start in the 2000m race, which is also the third Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, in a month’s time (July 15).
Dujardin (Danny Beasley) did not take long to get off the mark at Kranji, picture Singapore Turf Club
“We bought him especially for the Derby. That’s always been the plan,” said Laxon, who has won the $1 million event twice – in 2004 with Dreyfuss (also raced by Dujardin’s owner, the Oscar Racing Stable) and in 2008 with Top Spin.
“He had a setback when he just got here as he developed an infection in his split bone. That did affect his programme, but he’s picked up well.
“He’s a good stayer that I bought from Phil Cataldo and a win in Ellerslie (where he raced in New Zealand) makes him pretty handy. To step up from a 1600m race to 1900m second-up and win is virtually impossible, but he’s done it and done it well.
“I don’t think he was as fit as he should be today, though. He’s a bit on the soft side and I will have to find something else for him before the Derby.
“I won’t back him up for the Patron’s Bowl (second Leg over 1600m on June 24), but will give him a run in a 1600m race, one week before the Derby.
“But I have to say he pulled up well today. He was not blowing at all after the race, he’s a very clean-winded horse.”
Beasley shared the same enthusiasm about the Magic Ring gelding’s (previously raced as Chalaev in New Zealand where he counts two wins from seven starts for trainer Tony Cole) Derby prospects, but might have to knock back the ride if he gets a berth.
“He may have lower ratings, but he’s not without a chance in the Derby,” said Beasley.
“But he’s a little better than that horse who won last week, Full Toss, and the thing in his favour is he will run the trip.
“Today the track probably rode a bit slow, and in that respect, it probably was a good staying test for him.
“Unfortunately, I’m committed to ride Deep Pockets for Cliff Brown and I may not be able to ride him (Dujardin in the Derby).”
Beasley was suitably impressed by the way Dujardin has risen to the occasion at only his second Kranji run.
“I knew his fitness was a bit below par, but it’s a tremendous credit to Laurie’s training skills to have still got him to win when he was up in distance and up in class from Class 4 to a Kranji Stakes C race as well,” said the affable Australian jockey.
“He’s got plenty of class about him. In the running, he’s got this ability to switch off and doesn’t expend any energy – which are the qualities you really need for a Derby horse.”
The win incidentally allowed Laxon to reclaim the lead in the Singapore trainer’s premiership since surrendering it to rival Michael Freedman last February.
Trailing Freedman by five winners coming out of the break after the Singapore Airlines International Cup, the six-time champion has profited from the Australian’s quiet time during that time to bridge the gap and draw level. Both handlers are on 36 wins, but Laxon is on top on a countback for seconds.