Clements wants Top Knight to redeem himself

Clements wants Top Knight to redeem himself

Trainer Michael Clements has drawn a line through his Group 1 Singapore Derby winner Top Knight’s disappointment in the $400,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup over 1,600m three weeks ago.

His stable star had finished a too-bad-to-be-true ninth to Aramaayo as the $12 favourite.

Aramaayo is bidding for his third Group 1 victory, after having also won the Kranji Mile on Aug 16.

He reasons that the lack of pace was Top Knight’s undoing and the 1,800m trip in today’s $400,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup will suit his charge. After all, the Derby was also over 1,800m.

“At his last race, there was no pace in the race. It didn’t suit him when they crawled, and sprinted up late,” he said.

“He can’t do that as he is not a sprinter. For him to finish off his race, he needs to run off a fair pace and he can then run into the race.

“This time, he will be back on his winning course and distance, and it’ll be over the long course as well.”

Clements feels Top Knight has maintained good form.

“We were really happy with him going into the Raffles Cup, as we felt he was actually better in himself than he was going into the Derby,” he said.

“We’ve given him a few strong gallops. I feel he’s at the same level he was before the Raffles Cup, I’m really happy with him. I’m really looking forward to his run.”

The Falcon Racing No. 7-owned eight-time winner will be Clements’ sole QEII Cup contender, after he decided not to enter Siam Blue Vanda for the second leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series.

The Group 2 Stewards’ Cup winner has gone off the boil this campaign. He finished a seven-length 10th to Aramaayo in the Raffles Cup.

But Clements is not giving up completely on a berth in the ultimate leg, the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m on Nov 21.

“Siam Blue Vanda hasn’t been running up to expectations. We decided to give him a short freshen-up after the Raffles Cup,” said the Zimbabwe-born trainer.

“He took it easy for a couple of weeks and is now back in work. There is still a possibility we’ll run him in the Gold Cup, but we’ll have to see how he responds in his prep.

“There’s not much point if he doesn’t show us he can again race up to what he is capable of doing.”