Pinheiro happy to reunite with Street Of Dreams in Kranji Mile

Nineteen months has passed since jockey Bernardo Pinheiro last rode Street Of Dreams to his maiden win in October 2022, but he had been waiting for a reunion with the son of Dundeel in the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) this Saturday.

On the last meeting of his first long-term stint in Singapore two years ago, Pinheiro was astride the Steven Burridge-trained gelding at his six-length romp in a Maiden race (1200m). After the Brazilian jockey flew back for the 2022/2023 Dubai season, Street Of Dreams continued on his winning streak for five more times up the grades, proving himself from Class 4 to Kranji Stakes A races.

The Asok Kumar Singh-owned gelding unfortunately suffered an injury to his off-fore suspensory ligament after his first attempt at Group glory in the Kranji Mile last May, forcing him to be sidelined for the next seven months.

Since resuming this January, Street Of Dreams has not yet won in four starts but did show his competitive side with two seconds in the Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m) on 11 February and the Group 3 Committee’s Prize (1600m) on 9 March.

Street Of Dreams (Bernardo Pinheiro) cruises home an easy maiden winner on 2 October 2022, picture Singapore Turf Club

After his last-start sixth to Kranji Mile opponent Lim’s Kosciuszko in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) on 21 April, Pinheiro put his hand up for the ride on Street Of Dreams and it was only two weeks ago when the nod finally came.

“He (Street Of Dreams) had been the other jockey’s (Ronnie Stewart) ride previously but as I was free to ride in the Kranji Mile, I asked for the ride a few times after his last run,” said Pinheiro, who was back on Friday night from a five-day trip to Krabi with wife Gabriela and celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday.

“At first, Steven said the ride was given to (jockey) Bruno (Queiroz), so I searched for other rides and Steven said maybe I can ride Cavalry, but the owners gave the ride to (jockey) Ruan Maia in the end.

“He confirmed I will ride Street Of Dreams two weeks ago, so I rode him (Street Of Dreams) in trackwork before my (one-day) suspension (from 5 to 12 May for careless riding).

“I rode him (Street Of Dreams) at his first win and also rode for his owner a few times before in Malaysia too. He (Street Of Dreams) won impressively the first time I sat on him and I thought he can be competitive in higher-class races.

“I kept following him in his races. Last year, I didn’t ride him in races but I did ride him in trackwork before. He’s a horse who’s had a couple of issues and he’s very sensitive but Steven does a great job with him.

“I saw he ran well in the (barrier) trial last Thursday (fifth to Ghalib on 9 May). I rode him in slow work yesterday and this morning. I’m happy with him. We’ll probably do another piece of slow work on him tomorrow.”

While the hot favourite in the line-up of 10 will most likely be defending champion Lim’s Kosciuszko, who is two-from-two this year, the Daniel Meagher-trained galloper was not unbeatable. He had been beaten five times in 23 starts on local soil, including running second to Hongkong Great in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) last October.

Pinheiro would be well remembered for his brave leading tactics on the Ricardo Le Grange-trained gelding, but Kranji fans are unlikely to see the same strategy this time.

“He’s probably not a frontrunner like Hongkong Great but he can be up there with the leaders. I will discuss the tactics with Steven before the race,” he said.

“A barrier from one to five would be good for him because he can get very keen, so an inside draw would make it easier for him to relax in the run and finish off better.

“A bit of rain would be good because a soft track will be in his favour (won three times on yielding tracks thus far), maybe even better than on dry ground.

“It’s not a big field but it’s very competitive. It’s probably 10 of the best horses in Singapore there.

“Lim’s Kosciuszko would be hard to beat. Golden Monkey and Super Salute always give their best and Cavalry was spectacular at his second-up win last start (4 May).

“I respect the field but I am confident and will try to give him (Street Of Dreams) the best ride to beat (Lim’s) Kosciuszko again.”

Pinheiro will also ride Strike Gold for Le Grange, who also fields Ace Of Diamonds and Boardroom in the $150,000 Group 2 Singapore Guineas (1600m). The South African handler had doubts regarding the Iffraaj three-year-old’s ability over the mile but Pinheiro believed he could handle the extra furlong after riding him to his last-start fourth to Lim’s Bighorn in the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) on 27 April.

In fact, he could pick between Strike Gold and Boardroom (x Justify), who scored his first win in a Maiden race over the same trip on April 21 with Pinheiro on board, and he picked the former based on racing experience, albeit the two-time winner over 1200m is also a tricky horse to ride.

“I had actually won with all three runners of Ricky’s in the (Singapore) Guineas, but Ace Of Diamonds was already Bruno’s ride, so I had to choose between Strike Gold and Boardroom,” said Pinheiro, who has a full book of rides at the 11-race meeting this Saturday.

“It was a hard choice. I won on Boardroom last time and I think he’s a nice horse for the future and would be better over more ground, but he’s up in class this time.

“I rode both horses at trackwork yesterday morning and I still think he (Boardroom) can surprise and run well, but he has to prove his class.

“Strike Gold is already a ‘big boy’ in this Class. He’s been running against this bunch in the big races. He won on debut (in a Restricted Maiden Division 2 race over 1200m on 15 July) with me in a nice time (1 min 10.38secs) and I believed he can handle the mile after his last run.

“I had nowhere to go when the gap was closed (at the 200m) so I took him to the outside and he ran home strongly. If I had a clear run, I would be fighting for the win. So, I am hungry for a win with him.

“He can be a bit funny in the gates, but I know the horse well and both times I rode him, he settled very well and didn’t ‘fight’ me.

“But he’s not easy to ride, had been very unlucky in his races and needs a few things in his favour.

“After his gallop yesterday, I said to Ricardo that although Lim’s Bighorn, Bakeel and Ace Of Diamonds had beaten him (in the 3YO Classic), but if things go right and he settles, I’m sure he can run home.