Racing: Not a dream draw for titanium

Barrier 1 went to Titanium, whose trainer James Peters said: "It doesn't really suit this horse. He needs clear galloping space, he wants his own room instead of the whole field crowded around him."
Barrier 1 went to Titanium, whose trainer James Peters said: "It doesn't really suit this horse. He needs clear galloping space, he wants his own room instead of the whole field crowded around him."PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Emirates S'pore Derby favourite gets Barrier No. 1 but prized spot doesn't suit its strengths

James Peters was probably the only person at the post-position draw for the $1.15 million Emirates Singapore Derby who did not want to see the number 1 pulled out from the envelope yesterday.

But ironically, the English trainer of pre-race favourite Titanium landed the prized spot which everyone else present at Chevron House at Raffles Place had wanted.

His thoroughbred will charge out from Kranji's Barrier No. 1 for the 2,000m Group One 16-horse race on Sunday.

Peters, who took over training Titanium, a four-year-old gelding from New Zealand and owned by local stable Graceland only in April, said: "I'm the only one here who doesn't want to draw No. 1."

The 32-year-old explained: "It doesn't really suit this horse. He needs clear galloping space, he wants his own room instead of the whole field crowded around him, which he can feel intimidated by.

"I prefer the barrier to be (out) wider. He's got big strides, having him come from the outside to finish it off."

"But look, you can't complain about getting Barrier No. 1," he added with a laugh.

Barrier 1 is considered an advantageous position as it is closest to the rail, which means the horse has a slightly shorter distance to run at the Singapore Turf Club in Kranji.

Going into the final and most prestigious leg of the three-legged Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, Titanium has already tasted success, winning the opening $300,000 Stewards' Cup 1,400m race in May.

Then, it powered from last to win in the final 100m.

Peters said: "It'll be my first time at the derby. The competition is quite diverse, hopefully Titanium can reproduce its winning form."

Lining up beside Titanium is Super Team Stable-owned Mighty Warrior, another horse that is trained by Peters.

Local-trained horse Well Done, which won the second leg, the $500,000 Patron's Bowl 1,600m race last month, drew an inside position and will start the race from Barrier 6.

Said trainer David Kok: "It's better to be on an inside barrier, it's safe ground for us. I think we have quite a good chance. We were hoping to draw either Barrier 6 or 9. The last time when we won, we also started from around this position."

Veteran jockey Barend Vorster has more than 600 race victories under his belt but has never won this Singapore showpiece. The South Africa-born permanent resident is keen - but not desperate - to right that record.

He will be riding Blue Danube, starting from Barrier 11. The 40-year-old said: "(I've) got to be patient and not force myself that I need to win it because it's a big race. I've just got to take it step by step."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Not a dream draw for titanium'. Print Edition | Subscribe