Alibi's chance of becoming the first horse to sweep all three legs of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge was dealt a blow after yesterday's post-position draw for the $1.15 million Singapore Derby 2017 at Chinatown Point.
Trainer Michael Clements drew barrier No. 11, which means that Alibi will start the 2,000m Group 1 race out wide in a 15-horse field.
The New Zealand-bred colt was in fine form over the first two legs, winning both the $300,000 Stewards' Cup (1,400m) in May and $500,000 Patron's Bowl (1,600m) the following month.
Sunday's Derby marks the final leg of the challenge, where a victory would seal Alibi's spot in the record books.
Clements acknowledged that the draw was not what he had hoped for, but played down its impact on the horse's chances.
"It is what it is. Over 2,000m, the barrier doesn't play that big a part that it might do in a shorter-distance race. The horse is doing extremely well so we'll be counting on his ability and good condition to carry him through an outside barrier," said the 51-year-old.
While this may be Alibi's first attempt over 10 furlongs, jockey Glen Boss remained confident that the distance would not cause a problem for the seven-race winner.
SINGAPORE DERBY 2017 POST POSITION DRAW
1. Alibi (Barrier: 11) Jockey: Glen Boss Trainer: Michael Clements
2. Infantry (6) J: Manoel Nunes T: Alwin Tan
3. Lim's Cruiser (9) J: Danny Beasley T: Stephen Gray
4. Nova Strike (12) Jockey Derreck David Trainer Alwin Tan
5. Elite Excalibur (14) J: Michael Rodd T: Clifford Brown
6. Absolute Miracle (13) J: Alan Munro T: Alwin Tan
7. Guru-Guru (2) J: Azhar Ismail T: Desmond Koh
8. Song To The Moon (15 ) J: Barend Vorster T: Ricardo Le Grange
9. Lim's Samurai (7) J: William Pike T: Laurie Laxon
10. Magstock (4) J: Vlad Duric T: Clifford Brown
11. Preditor (1) J: John Powell T: Shane Baertschiger
12. Excellency (10) J: Nooresh Juglall T: Ricardo Le Grange
13. Mr Scorsese (3) J: Matthew Kellady T: Laurie Laxon
14. Sun Hoplites (8) J: Wong Chin Chuen T: Desmond Koh
15. Justice Fair (5) J: Oscar Chavez T: Mohd Yusof Othman
The Australian said: "He's an up-and-coming horse in a pretty commanding position right now. He's got such a will to win. The distance is a query, but there are a lot of the other horses who are in the same boat."
Clements agreed: "He is in the best form of his life. If he doesn't come through, we are still proud of what he's done."
Alibi's current track record draws a parallel with War Affair in 2015.
Under local trainer Alwin Tan, War Affair breezed through the first two legs but fell just short in the Derby, finishing second.
Tan returns to the Derby this year with three horses and is banking on Infantry, who drew barrier No.6, to deliver his first title.
"Infantry was the luckiest of the three. He won't have to do too much to jump across and hopefully, he can tuck in somewhere with cover in third or fourth position," said the Singapore Turf Club's reigning champion trainer.
Buoyed by the return of jockey Manoel Nunes from injury, Tan was optimistic: "Manoel knows how to ride this horse and it's good to have him back."