While the world had come to a standstill, time seems to have also frozen for Donna Logan’s brilliant sprinter Makkem Lad during the break - but in a good way.
The third-season Kiwi trainer said that the four-time winner (1000m to 1200m) has remained at the same state he was in before the three-month coronavirus-induced interruption, both fitness-wise and physique-wise.
At his last start in a Class 3 race over 1200m on March 20, the pint-sized Kuroshio four-year-old was ridden in his typical frontrunning style by champion jockey Vlad Duric, making every post a winning one, albeit sharing the ultimate one with favourite Mr Malek.
The bigger Mr Malek (Patrick Moloney) looms on the outside but Makkem Lad (Vlad Duric) toughs it out to share the spoils, picture Singapore Turf Club
If Logan has successfully bottled that form up for four months, as suggested by the condition status quo, that can only map well for his comeback run at Kranji’s first day back in Saturday’s $70,000 Class 3 race over 1100m on Polytrack.
“The horse is well in himself, and like most of our horses, seems to be forward enough despite going through the lockdown,” said Logan.
“He was not really affected by the lockdown. He has stayed the same, he has not changed a good deal.
“He has stayed at the same weight. He’s still a small horse, but he’s got such a big heart, he always tries very hard.
“It’s mostly the older and younger horses who have really benefitted from the lockdown. The older horses have aches and niggles, and that break has given them a new lease of life, while the younger horses have not been put under as much pressure.”
Makkem Lad, who scored three of his four wins on the alternative surface, ran a close fifth at his barrier trial on June 23. He was ridden by Logan’s newly-indentured apprentice jockey Yusoff Fadzli, which proved to be a handy pointer as to who takes the reins this Saturday, especially with the 58kgs allotted.
Attached to trainer Saimee Jumaat until March, the Malaysian three-kilo claimer struck a rich vein of form shortly after joining Logan, riding three winners (Lim’s Knight, Red Claw and Lim’s Dashing) for Daniel Meagher just before racing was suspended. He gets a live chance to open his account for his new boss this Saturday.
“Makkem Lad went very well in his trial two weeks ago (June 23). Yusoff rode him and will also ride him in his race,” said Logan.
“With all the races being over short distances, we will be anticipating the barrier draws to have a better idea. Makkem Lad races best forward, and we can’t change that, but a good barrier would be nice.
“After the lockdown, all the horses have improved with the long time away. That’s why I respect all the horses in that race.
“I don’t have any horses standing out this Saturday. They are all well, and like I said, the draws will be important.
“Most importantly, we’re just happy racing is back, and long may it continue.”
From 13 entries, Logan has 10 of them secured for a start across the bumper card of 14 races set down for decision on Saturday, with Makkem Lad arguably her leading hope.
The Australian-bred’s last-start dead-heat incidentally brought up the last of Logan’s nine wins this season (with only three months and a bit that had been put astern before the hiatus), cementing her mid-table spot in 13th place, a laudable stat given she fielded only 91 runners from a medium-sized table standing at 55 horses.