Like most, trainer Michael Clements knows Inferno is very hard to beat in today’s $400,000 Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m in Race 12.
After all, the Cliff Brown-trained six-time winner from seven starts, including the $250,000 Group 2 Singapore Classic over 1,400m at his last start on Aug 30, is hailed as Kranji’s next big thing.
But Clements is still optimistic that his aptly named charge, Big Hearted, has what it takes to win, although Inferno has finished ahead in their four previous encounters.
Those were over 1,200m and 1,400m, so Clements reckons the step-up to 1,600m will be ideal for his Falcon Racing No. 7 Stable-owned come-from-behind four-time winner.
His horse has also peaked at the right time.
“I’ve always rated Big Hearted and felt the further he gets to go, the more we’re going to see from him, especially as he strengthens up and matures,” said Clements, who three weeks ago captured the $500,000 Group 1 Singapore Derby with Falcon Racing’s Top Knight.
“I really like to have him at the trip. It’ll be his first time over the mile, but so will most of them, including Inferno.
“If anything, the mile has come at the right time with the extra six months for him to mature during the circuit breaker.”
Clements knows that at level weights, Big Hearted is disadvantaged, but it is the ideal race with the small field of nine.
He hopes, with a good passage, Big Hearted can finish strongly. After all, his horse is ready to run the race of his life.
“He’s in great shape and I’m really pleased with his preparation,” he said.
“He had a good gallop early this week. He’s a sound horse, clean-winded and easy to train.
“Inferno is the horse to beat, no doubt. But I’m quietly confident my horse will run a decent race and finish in the first three.
“He’s my Guineas horse from a long way out and he has peaked at the right time.”
Big Hearted will be ridden by French jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin.
The Singapore Guineas race has lost some glamour with the withdrawal of six-time winner Mr Malek, the horse most thought would be Inferno’s biggest threat.
Trainer Lee Freedman scratched the Oscar Racing Stable-owned galloper because he was not 100 per cent satisfied with his charge’s condition after his final gallop on Wednesday morning.
While the Australian Hall of Fame trainer is left without a Singapore Guineas runner, Oscar Racing will still be represented by the James Peters-trained two-time winner Meryl, the only mare in the race.
Although winning would be a pipedream with her low rating, she has to be in it to win it.
“It’s realistically very, very tough for Meryl, especially with Inferno in the race, but the Guineas is run only once,” said Peters, who has booked jockey Wong Chin Chuen for the ride.
“We’ll take our chance, you never know. She’s won well over the mile, and hopefully, she can run into the money.”