Kranji's Sunday meeting preview

Meeting Preview, selections, comments and odds, courtesy Larry Foley,

Racing lost a good man last week.

Laurie Keith Laxon.

Anyone who has had a passing interest in Singapore racing since the move to Kranji in 2000 would know the name but thankfully for many in the industry, they also knew the man.

Tributes poured in from all over the world for the Melbourne Cup winning trainer - Empire Rose's win was folklore - but it was the memories of his time at Kranji - and more poignantly from the people he influenced directly- that showed his worth as one of nicer blokes you would meet in the industry.

Don't get me wrong. The man often called "Uncle" by those at the track or at the Roo Bar was as tough as they come - you don't get far in the racing game without some mongrel - but it was guaranteed if a man was down, it was Laurie who would pick him up.

Be it down-on-their-luck trainers, out-of-form jockeys, battling track-riders or even wayward grooms looking for another chance - Laurie helped them all - and it's a testament to his legacy that everyone that knew or spent time with the champion trainer, was better for the experience.

Personally, I didn't know Laurie as well as others in the industry but was lucky enough to spend many hours in his company both at the track in a semi-official capacity and socially at numerous bars, restaurants and at the odd NZ inspired BBQ at his humble abode.

Off the track, Laurie was very hard to keep up with but on the track, Laurie was impossible to beat.

His Singapore CV reads so much better than any other trainer of his era that he will be long remembered as not only the best handler Kranji has seen, but also more importantly for "LKL", as the biggest character Singapore racing has ever seen.

Rest in peace Uncle.

Oh, there is a Derby on Sunday - a race Laurie won twice - and fittingly MR MALEK should win for Laurie's biggest and most loyal owners, the Oscar Racing Stable.

Best Bets: (CRYSTAL WARRIOR race 3 win), (GALAXY STAR race 5, value), and (ARARAT LADY race 8, value).

Bankers for Jackpots: Race 8 (1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9), race 9 (1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8), race 10 (1, 2 and 3), race 11 (1, 3, 5, 6, 10 and 12).

Race cards and Larry Foley's synopsis follows and for updates on all runners go to

Please note the odds listed are "reference odds" only.

Race 1
A very open Class 5 Poly mile to open the Derby meeting and while we will have a look on the day for stable support, the Class dropper in CIRCUIT STAR looks the one to beat. The 4YO had some in hand last start in Class 4 and given his win four starts back was in a similar affair to this, he could be hardest to beat with Beuzelin up from gate 4. His stablemate, STREET PARTY, hasn't fared as well at the barriers (9) but could play a big part with a positive ride, while the likes of TIGER LEAP (value) and last start comfortable winner, ZOFFSPEED, can also win with luck needed from awkward gates. Another last start winner in FORT MUSTANG must be respected with Beasley up. Betting Strategy - CIRCUIT STAR win.
1 CIRCUIT STAR *** OK late last start but drops in grade and gets over suitable trip so can win. 4.00
2 STREET PARTY *** Disappointing last start from wide gate but can make his presence felt with positive ride. 7.00
3 BOY NEXT DOOR ** Gate a concern but not a mile away last start and went close at most recent run this trip and track so keep safe. 8.00
4 AUSPICIOUS DAY * Won on the turf last stat but this is harder and happy to ignore from bad gate on the Poly. 11
5 FORT MUSTANG *** Broke maiden status in similar affair last start and honest enough to keep following. 4.00
6 ZOFFSPEED *** Another last start winner who can go on with the job although has 2.5kg extra to carry. 6.00
7 JOON HO * Maiden who continues to struggle at the races but mile in Class 5 may suit as always trials like a handy horse. 50
8 MOONGATE FIVE * Lost form and query the trip. 50
9 SMOKE AND MIRRORS *** SCRATCHED. Had plenty in hand last start over 1200m and looks due with the mile ideal. Value. 0
10 TIGAROUS ** Has been disappointing since dropping to Class 5 but recent trial suggests improvement with gate 3 a factor. 20
11 TIGER LEAP *** Maiden who handles the Poly, race suits and can figure with nay puck from awkward gate. 8.00
12 MY EVEREST ** Form better than it reads and race suits so include in exotics at value with gate 2 a factor. 20

Race 2
Remarkably, the maidens that finished second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth behind RED OCEAN over 1400m at their last start all have another crack over the mile and obviously that is the form line to follow. And while CON SPERANZA finished second on that occasion and looks the benchmark on his honest form, IRONPRINCE made up super ground in the straight and his work late suggests he is hard to hold out from gate 1 over 1600m. ACE SOVEREIGN started favourite in that race and while unplaced, he did it tough enough to give another chance with a handy 2kg claim and DEN OF THIEVES and GOLDEN SPRINT are honest and will figure. Outside of that form line, HERO placed over the mile in Australia and showed enough late at his Kranji debut to follow, while a horse like TAVI WILL DO could improve at long odds with blinkers added on trial form. Betting Strategy - IRONPRINCE win, saver on TAVI WILL DO.
1 HERO *** Appreciates first up run in Singapore and work late suggests he has a say over what is a more suitable trip with winkers off. 12
2 CON SPERANZA *** Overdue to win given form but gets his chance (again) with winkers added over the mile. 4.00
3 GOLDEN SPRINT *** Not a mile away last start, gate 2 helps and should figure somewhere in this finish. 8.00
4 IRONPRINCE *** Did it tough from wide gate last start and work late to place good enough to win this with barrier 1 a factor. 4.00
5 DEN OF THIEVES ** In the mix without being a winning threat last start and expect much the same. 20
6 ACE SOVEREIGN *** Excuses (tough run) when unplaced with support last start but wouldn't sack with handy 2kg a bonus here. 6.00
7 GREAT EXPECTATION ** Coming through the same 1400m race as many in this field and work late suggests some in hand. 20
8 IBEX ** Improved on the back of a good trial to place over the mile last start but that was a weak race so take on trust. 12
9 QIJI AUSTON ** Another who improved lengths - albeit in Class 5 - to just miss last start and pay to respect. 12
10 KHAO MANEE * No. 100
11 ALEXANDER * Missed a place after leading in a weak maiden last start and gate will test. 20
12 TONY'S LOVE ** Too honest to leave out but more suited to Class 5. 20
13 TAVI WILL DO ** Race form looks hopeless but will improve with racing and can consider at odds with blinkers added on the back of an easy trial. 33
14 OUD WOOD * Appreciates first up run but like to see more before considering. 50
15 KINGS SHIELD * Battler. 200

Race 3
An interesting Class 4 Poly sprint over 1100m and while we will be having a longer look on the day, two horses in BIONICS and WINNING SPIRIT are obviously in form and should run big races once again. BIONICS in particular was very good when only finding one better when resuming and he can overcome the wide gate and knock in another win, while WINNING SPIRIT has to be respected on his recent winning form, although he does have 2.5kg extra to carry. But the money may be on CRYSTAL WARRIOR and the 3YO will find this easier than the Group 3YO Company he faced last start and can win sans blinkers (tongue-tie on) on the back of a good trial. Three others to watch are BRUTUS who is due, ARION PASSION from gate 2 and MARDOONA at odds in what should be a suitable Poly race. Betting Strategy - CRYSTAL WARRIOR win, saver on MARDOONA.
1 CRYSTAL WARRIOR *** Placed on debut on Poly before tough run in the 3YO Sprint but can consider in the on the back of a good trial with blinkers off and tongue-tie on. 4.00
2 DOC HUDSON ** Failed to flatter at two runs since dropping in Class and drawn wide but Duric stays on and could figure. 20
3 SURGE ** Another who has been solid without being a threat at two starts in Class 4 but can win a race like this. 20
4 BIONICS *** Draw some concern but resumed with very good effort and will look the winner at some stage. 3.00
5 WINNING SPIRIT *** Has extra weight to carry but won well enough last start to follow with a forward run expected. 4.00
6 SNIP ** Battled at two runs this preparation but always a show in races like this and gate 1 helps. 20
7 BRUTUS *** Finds it hard to win and had support at recent runs in similar races to this but worth one more look with blinker/pacifiers added. 8.00
8 ARION PASSION *** Needed Class 5 to win but did it tough last start so happy to give another chance from gate 2. 12
9 BASILISK ** Tough to follow but in solid form so can include in exotics. 20
10 MARDOONA *** Coming off a shocker on the turf but did it tough enough to keep safe at odds here with blinkers off. 20
11 ZYGARDE * Back in trip and should need easier. 100

Race 4
This race looks extremely risky for punters given EIGHT BALL looks the winner on paper and will no doubt start favourite, but he has drawn wide so luck will play a part. In saying that, you would expect Matty Kellady to ride him like a good thing and hopefully some pace drawn inside him gives him a fair run and he gets his overdue maiden win. The pace influence drawn wide is GLOBAL SPIRIT and he could give a bold sight first up after a bleeding attack. LAGO DE COMO and BEN WADE are both in solid form and have drawn to advantage in gates 1 and 2 respectively, while SILVER SWORD could also give a sight dropping back in trip. Both emergencies can win if they get a start. Betting Strategy - small win EIGHT BALL.
1 LAGO DE COMO *** Battled last start over the mile but placed two back this trip and gets his chance in this field from gate 1. 6.00
2 BEN WADE *** Ran on to place in a weak on last start and expect much the same. 6.00
3 GLOBAL SPIRIT *** Resuming after a bleeding attack and bold run expected on the back of a good trial with visor off and pacifier on. 12
4 KAKADU ** Never got involved last start and drawn wide for this but gets blinkers so look for improvement. 20
5 SILVER SWORD *** Led before battling over the mile but worth another look dropping back to 1200m. 8.00
6 ZESTFUL ** Never involved on debut in Novice Company but market watch advised on trial form in this maiden. 33
7 CITY GATE ** Did it tough last start and recent trial suggest he could improve with blinkers to visor. 20
8 EIGHT BALL *** Widest gate some concern but is due, appreciates being back on the Poly and the one to beat. 2.00
9 SIR ELTON ** Lost form but race suits and could surprise on best Poly form with a 4kg claim. 20
10 GREAT HERO * Blinkers to winkers but impossible on form. 50
11 CITY HALL ** Form looks hopeless but appreciates getting back on the Poly and improves with blinkers off. 33
12 LIM'S MOREREADY * Resuming after poor debut and market only guide. 50
13 BIG TIGER *** Ran on solidly without being a threat over 1100m last start but can consider in this field from gate 3. 12
14 MIGHTY VAIN *** Resuming after another bleeding attack but could give a sight on trial form. 12

Race 5
A very wide open race and while UNCONQUERED won a similar affair on the turf last start (at odds) and only has an extra 2.5kg to carry from gate 3, he may go round at value again and is obviously worth a look. TOM CAT won two starts back when resuming on the turf and was far from disgraced on the Poly last start; Beuzelin retains the ride and he looks hardest to beat. GALAXY STAR had excuses not to be in the mix last start and although drawn wide here, he should go forward and have a say, while MIRACLE and SPEEDY MISSILE will be strong late. RAMBO and WINNING HOBBY for exotics. Betting Strategy - TOM CAT win.
1 UNCONQUERED *** Surprised a few by winning on the turf last start and have to respect in similar affair with an extra 2.5kg to carry. 10
2 RAMBO ** Love to se over longer but ran on well when resuming and will be strong late. 12
3 TOM CAT *** Winner too good last start but was well and truly in the mix and won start prior so looks the benchmark. 3.00
4 CROWN DANCING * Will improve with racing but needs longer. 33
5 SPEEDY MISSILE *** Only win was over 1600m but always a show and should figure heavily in this finish. 6.00
6 GALAXY STAR *** Excuses (traffic) not to be right in the finish last start in similar affair and can win this with positive ride expected. 4.00
7 MIRACLE *** Gets back and runs on very strongly and often value so happy to follow. 7.00
8 SILENT FORCE * Battling. 50
9 WINNING HOBBY ** Finding it hard to win but in honest form so a must for exotics. 12
10 CHARMING DIAMOND * Class 5 specialist. 33
11 FIREWORKS * Needs easier and longer. 33
12 BRACED * Eligible for easier but excuses last start and could be competitive at long odds. 33

Race 6
Given the current balloting rules, the top two rated horses in the race - RETALLICA and PING PONG - are first and second emergency respectively but both can win if they get a start. Of the two, RETALLICA is being tested over the trip for the first time but is in form and could very well run this lot off their feet. But as it stands, LIM'S RHYTHM won last start over 1700m on the Poly, has been freshened with a nice trial and no reason why he can't win again. And winning form is good form given the likes of BLITZ POWER, LAI MAK MAK, HIDDEN PROMISE and GINGERMAN have all been in good form but are finding it hard to win. Of that crew, LAI MAK MAK had some in hand last start and looks the pick. One to keep safe on recent good trial form is NAJAH and he should be long odds. Betting Strategy - RETALLICA win, LAI MAK MAK each-way. 
1 BLITZ POWER *** Foot on the till, appreciates being back on the Poly and goes very close. 3.00
2 CIZEN LUCKY * Has won on the Poly and gets blinker/pacifiers but drawn wide so happy to risk. 20
3 FOOTSTEPSONTHECAR * Found form over 1400m on the turf but remains a query on the Poly so market watch advised. 12
4 LAI MAK MAK *** May have forgotten how to win but excuses last start (saddle slipped) and work late good enough to have say here with no weight. 6.00
5 LIM'S RHYTHM *** Freshened with good trial after winning over 1700m on the poly last start. Big show. 4.00
6 HIDDEN PROMISE *** Another Walker runner who hasn't won for a while but looks due and has a big say from gate 2. 12
7 HOSAYLIAO ** Drawn wide and disappointing last start but goes close on form prior. 12
8 OFFICIAL * Officially out of form. 50
9 NAJAH *** Drawn wide and impossible on recent race form but a recent trial was good enough to keep very safe in what is a suitable race. 20
10 FLASH THE FLAG * Gate 1 helps but nuisance value only. 50
11 GINGERMAN *** Disappointing last start given support but worth another look on form prior with gate 3 a factor. 7.00
12 VESONTIO * No. 100
13 RETALLICA *** Query the trip but can go forward and give a bold sight with support likely. 3.00
14 PING PONG *** Improved effort when looking the winner late over 1700m last start and pay to keep safe. 5.00

Race 7
Tactics will play a big part in this Kranji Stakes B 1800m event but given Mr Malek probably starts favourite in the Derby later in the day, OCEAN CROSSING could be hardest to beat. The 5YO surprised a few by winning over 1100m on the Poly when resuming after a solid Gold Cup campaign and he showed enough over 1400m behind Mr Malek last start to think he can win this. The stablemate SO HI CLASS is bang-in-form and also wins without surprising and Clements has two others runners in TANGIBLE and ELITE INCREDIBLE who could easily surprise. The race is wide open though and GOLD STRIKE look ready to show his best after two sighters this campaign with Duric a factor and down in the weights, WIND TRAIL could be value and well worth a look with the Takaoka polish. Betting Strategy - OCEAN CROSSING win, saver on WIND TRAIL.
1 GOLD STRIKE *** Form reads badly but this race is perfect third up this campaign and can win on the back of a quiet trial. 6.00
2 OCEAN CROSSING *** In form, not a mile away from Mr Malek last start and 1800m in this grade suits. Hard to beat. 3.00
3 PENNYWISE ** Lack of recent winning form a concern but always some hope and versatile enough to have say here. 12
4 SO HI CLASS *** Up in Class but hard to fault winning form and looks the benchmark. 3.00
5 MAKANANI ** Running out of chances but best when leading so always pay to keep safe. 20
6 ELITE INCREDIBLE ** Another that is finding it hard to win but should go forward and look the winner at some stage. 12
7 AXEL ** Recent good form on the Poly but not a mile away at last two turf runs and could figure in exotics with softer run in transit. 20
8 TANGIBLE ** This is tougher again but hard to fault honest form and pay to respect. 12
9 WIND TRAIL *** Excuses not to finish closer last start this trip and will keep them all honest late. 9.00

Race 8
A wide-open race with enough horses in form to think whoever gets the favours in running wins. But a Class dropper in ARARAT LADY could be better than most on best form and happy to follow. The 5YO mare returned to form in Class 3 on the turf last start but handles the Poly and the drop to Class 4 should see a big run and hopefully a result. Of the horses in form in similar affairs, AL GREEN won last start and can carry the extra weight and win again here, while KISS YOUR SONG and SUPER SMART will both get every chance from inside gates. FIRST CHIEF has gate 10 to contend with but is overdue to win and keep RED ROVER safe with upgrade to blinkers from a better gate. Betting Strategy - ARARAT LADY win.
1 ARARAT LADY *** Drawn wide but not a mile away in Class 3 last start so the drop in Class coupled with a 2kg claim has her right in this. 6.00
2 KISS YOUR SONG *** In the mix last start and should figure again from gate 3. 5.00
3 LIM'S MIGHTY ** Form reads badly but appreciates first up run in this Company and senior hoop helps. Watch for support. 20
4 AL GREEN *** Turned some good form into a win in similar fair last start and pay to follow with another positive ride expected. 4.00
5 RED ROVER *** Form reads badly but very much appreciates better gate and can consider with upgrade to blinkers. 12
6 REVOLUTION * Resuming after bleeding attack last year and have to take on trust with tongue-tie added. 33
7 SUPER SMART *** Finding it hard to win but gate 1 helps and will figure late. 4.00
8 CLARTON TREASURE * Resuming and may need easier. 20
9 FIRST CHIEF *** Drawn awkwardly and may have forgotten how to win but in form and should figure prominently. 6.00
10 SUPER GENEROUS * Maiden who is battling. 50
11 SUPER POSH * Needs easier and 1000m. 50
12 I'M A CONQUEROR ** Competitive on his day but needs Class 5 to win. 20
13 HEADHUNTER ** Form better than it reads and gets winkers so keep safe if he gets a start. 12

Race 9
Another wide open Class 4 turf sprint but two of the higher rated horses in VALOROUS and FIRST CHOICE are due and should figure heavily in this finish. VALOROUS just missed a place last start and it has been hard to fault his form since dropping to Class 4 and from gate 6 with Beasley up, he gets his chance with a strong race tempo expected. FIRST CHOICE will go forward from gate 3 and if he gets a breather out front, he will be extremely hard to pass and looks the benchmark. HADEER with blinkers added might be a horse that takes FIRST CHOICE on early and is worth an each-way look at odds with CHARGER and FROM THE NAVY in the mix on recent form. DR KARDO was disappointing last start but will appreciate the turf and gate 2 so can win. Betting Strategy - VALOROUS win.
1 VALOROUS *** Hasn't won for a long time but recent efforts promising and gets his chance here. 4.00
2 FIRST CHOICE *** Will lead from gate 3 and whoever passes him late wins. 4.00
3 CHEVAL BLANC * Resuming. Late Yulong Jazz. Should need longer. 50
4 WEALTH ELITE ** Not often seen on the turf but has handled the surface with best work expected late. 12
5 CHARGER *** Always a winnings how in Class 4, turf no problem and should figure. 6.00
6 DR KARDO *** Disappointing but jockey suggested kickback an issue on the Poly last start and happy to give another chance on the turf with gate 2 a factor. 5.00
7 FROM THE NAVY *** Traffic excuses not to win last start in similar affair after winning in Class 5 two back and has to be respected. 6.00
8 HADEER *** Can be tough to follow but gets blinkers, could easily lead and give a sight at odds with no weight. 33
9 SACRED JUDGEMENT ** Form better than it reads and more forward run expected from better gate so keep very safe at value. 33
10 IRONCLAD * Gate 1 helps but better over 1400m and perhaps easier Company. 33
11 DIAMOND RING ** Resuming after long spell but trialling well enough to think he has something to offer at odds. 33
12 CRYSTAL DRAGON * Had some in hand last start but prefer on the Poly in Class 5. 33

Race 10
It's been a tough year or two but Derby Day is enough to lift the spirits of anyone who loves the racing game. And while short on numbers and depth, this finish should be a beauty with nothing separating the top three rated horses in MR MALEK, ROCKET STAR and BIG HEARTED. All three have very good Group form to their name and while ROCKET MAN comes of an unplaced run in the Stewards' Cup, he had excuses (lame) and did start favourite on that occasion so has to be a big show. But MR MALEK is in spanking winning form and a recent trial suggests he is in top order and is the one to beat, although Gold Cup winner, BIG HEARTED, will eat up the 1800m late and will have plenty of admirers to win. It would be dismissive to say the rest of the field are making up the numbers and HARD TO THINK could be the value option on his staying form with blinkers added for good measure and SAVY COMMAND is obviously in good form. Betting Strategy - Box 1, 2, 3, and 8 in all exotics.
1 MR MALEK *** Won the Stewards' Cup over 1400m with authority, gives every indication the Derby trip is no problem and hard to hold out. 2.00
2 ROCKET STAR *** Started favourite when pulling up lame in the Stewards' Cup and can win this if right on very good Group 1 form prior. 4.0
3 BIG HEARTED *** Gold Cup winner who will be the biggest beneficiary stepping up in trip and can win on Stewards' Cup form. 2.80
4 SENOR DON * Not disgraced with on-pace run in the Stewards' Cup but prefer on the Poly at this level. 33
5 SAVVY COMMAND * Hard to fault winning form but tested at this level at the weights. 20
6 SUN POWER * Flopped at Singapore debut but freshened with some good enough trials to keep safe on best Melbourne form. 50
7 TELLER * Impossible on exposed Singapore form. 100
8 HARD TOO THINK ** Up in Class but trip not an issue and recent trial with blinkers added suggests he has a say at odds. 20
9 METAL WORLD * Last start winner but dramatically up in Class needs the rain to have any say. 33

Race 11
A raffle to close the Derby Day meeting and if you happen to have backed the winner in the big race, it may pay to enjoy a cold drink and play with care in the lucky last. In saying that, SATURNO SPRING showed last start in Class 3 that he handles the turf and the drop back to his winning Class has him right in the winning mix. SPLIT SECOND won one of these last start and he has to be respected with LUCK OF MASTER, DON DE LA VEGA, BUDDY BUDDY and SKY ROCKET all doing enough in that same race to follow. Of that crew, LUCK OF MASTER gets a handy 2kg claim and doesn't have to improve much to win this. One to watch with no weight is ATLAS who is overdue to win but blinkers off might be the move that sees a result. Go wider in exotics. Betting Strategy - SATURNO SPRING win.
1 SATURNO SPRING *** Drops back to winning Class, had some in hand last start on the turf and should figure in this finish. 6.00
2 SKY ROCKET ** Improved effort when dropping to this Company last start and will win a race like this so keep safe. 20
3 LUCK OF MASTER *** Overdue to win one of these given support but ran on to keep Split Second honest last start and must go close with handy 2kg claim. 4.00
4 VOLUMINOUS ** Tough to follow and better on the Poly but won on the turf three back so have to respect. 12
5 BUDDY BUDDY *** Drawn wide but place din the wet last start and in the mix start prior in similar affair to this. Each-way. 12
6 SPLIT SECOND *** Surprised most when winning a similar affair last start but has to be considered with an extra 2.5kg to carry. 12
7 STAR JACK * Always looks some hope but battling of late so take on trust. 33
8 ADIPSON ** Ran on well enough last start in similar affair to include in exotics. 20
9 ROYALTY * In solid form but query the trip so market only guide. 20
10 DON DE LA VEGA *** Backed up Class 5 win with excuses not to place last start in similar affair to this. Each-way. 12
11 KING'S SPEECH ** Never involved from wide gate last start but can consider with more positive ride expected. 20
12 ATLAS *** Finds it very hard to win but will appreciate being back on the turf and should figure prominently with blinkers off a factor. 5.00
13 TWELFTH NIGHT * Capable of a surprise and drawn the ace but needs Class 5. 33
14 GOLD REWARD ** Eligible for easier but honest and always some each-way hope with no weight. 12