Montana Flash has yet to open his account in Singapore, but trainer Donna Logan reckons he could get on the scoresheet in the $20,000 Open Maiden race over 1400m at Kranji on Sunday.
As a two-year-old back in January 2021, Montana Flash was well and truly in the mix when finishing fourth – beaten only half-a-length behind Zethus - in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Garden (Sydney).
A horse called Home Affairs finished second in that same race and the form from that hotly-contested Group 3 sprint for two-year-old colts and geldings would more than likely stand up at the top level in the coming months and years.
Home Affairs is now worth an estimated $20 million as a stallion after winning two Group 1 sprints in Australia (the Coolmore Stud Stakes and the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes both in 2022). He retired to stud after starting favourite but finished unplaced at his 10th (and last) race in the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes (1207m) at the Royal Ascot (England) meeting in June.
While Montana Flash is unlikely to reach the heights of Home Affairs, he is still capable of a first win in Singapore.
“He really deserves to win and he should,” said Logan from her stables after the barrier trials on Thursday.
“He hasn’t done much wrong – except winning – since he’s been here.
“I thought his first run was good as he got held up and flew home and then he had a crack at the Group race (Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint) as you’re only three once.
“And his last run in Class 4 was very good considering the winner (From The Navy) was in a purple patch of form and we ran home (last 400m) in 22.56 (secs), which is pretty good.
“On that run, you would think he could just win in a Maiden company and 1400m looks ideal.
“He trialled well the other day too and from the good gate (two), (jockey) Jake (Bayliss) should just have to stay out of trouble to get the job done.”
It is never easy though. Logan reckons Missile Rain and Engine Start should keep Montana Flash honest, but thinks that should he win, it will be a game changer.
“This will give him confidence,” explained Logan of the Star Turn gelding.
“He really should progress through the grades as he matures and he should tap into some of that potential he’d showed as a two-year-old in Australia.
“Going forward, he should have a good career in Singapore – he’s a lovely type to have in the stable.”
Bayliss – who only returns from compassionate leave in Australia on Saturday – lives with Logan and her husband Peter Woods in Singapore. Like Montana Flash, he is ‘good to have in the stable’.
“He’s a good doer (eater),” quipped Logan who sits second on the trainers’ premiership with 34 wins – just two behind leader Tim Fitzsimmons.
“We love having him around – bloody good to live with – and I think he’s matured a lot since he’s moved to Singapore.”
Logan – who only recently had to rush back to New Zealand herself after Woods’ mother had a stroke - was thankful Bayliss headed home, albeit briefly.
“Jake was close to his grandmother and I told him to get back and spend valuable time with her.
“We are really glad he did and while he wanted to get back to riding, that time with his family is so important and he will appreciate that.”
Bayliss will also ride former Irish winner, Legacy Fortune in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1400m and Logan thinks he is also ready to break his Singapore duck.
“He has just started to acclimatise properly in Singapore so we think he can show his best on Sunday,” said the Kiwi handler.
“He was only beaten two-and-a-half lengths last start on the Poly(track) so in a level field with a genuine tempo expected on the turf, he should go well.”
Of her other runners, Logan is hoping Diamond Ring gets a ‘Shinn special’ in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1200m. Meanwhile, Deception, who will be ridden by apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin, is also very well-placed to win the Lucky Last – a $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1400m.
“I knows it’s only a Class 5 Division 2 but I think (jockey) Blake (Shinn) will suit Diamond Ring,” she said.
“And Deception will definitely appreciate being back in Class 4 after two runs in the Group races (Singapore 3YO Sprint and 3YO Classic).
“He got lost in the Classic early and ran the last 400m in 22.97 (secs), so he should be a player in this field.”
The stable is flying at the moment – doubles and trebles abound of late – and Logan could not be happier with the work environment, which she thinks plays a big part in the success.
“The staff have really gelled,” said the only female trainer at Kranji.
“We are working really well together and my ‘B’ trainer - Hamsha (Aloysius) - is a real help and I think that’s making the difference.
“Good staff, good owners, good horses – you have to tick all the boxes.”