A fresh Red Ocean making big waves

Baertschiger-trained stablemate Shanghai Star also wins trial to get ready for next week

What did trainers Tim Fitzsimmons and Shane Baertschiger have in common in Thursday morning's trials?

Yes, both scored a double - Fitzsimmons with Relentless and his impressive second-up winner Golden Monkey, while his fellow Australian was victorious with Red Ocean and Shanghai Star.

But the similarity does not end there. Their trial winners are also charting the same paths.

Fitzsimmons had mentioned on Thursday that Relentless would be tackling a Class 4 race over 1,600m next Saturday, before heading for the $150,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,600m on June 26 and the $400,000 Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m on July 17.

So, too, is Red Ocean going for the two Singapore features.

But the four-year-old New Zealand-bred will be racing in a Class 3 race over 1,400m next Saturday, which is Kranji Mile Day, featuring the $1 million Group 1 classic.

Golden Monkey will race in the Novice event over 1,200m, a race Shanghai Star is also targeted for.

While Relentless and Golden Monkey clocked 61.56 seconds and 61.35sec respectively, Red Ocean won in the fastest time of the five trials - 59.85sec for the Polytrack 1,000m. Shanghai Star recorded 60.65sec.

Fitzsimmons, however, said he was very happy with the way his two horses performed.

He just wanted them to have easy trials in preparation for next week's assignments.

True, the pair could have clocked faster times if their riders had released the brakes.

Like Fitzsimmons, Baertschiger was also impressed with his duo's trial victories.

While Relentless and Golden Monkey camped on the speed to win, Red Ocean and Shanghai Star led all the way easily under jockey Matthew Kellady.

A four-time winner from 10 starts - thrice over 1,400m and once over 1,600m - Red Ocean disappointed as the $11 favourite in his last start on Jan 29.

After travelling second for most of the way, the MA Racing & Hi Vis Stable-owned promising gelding dropped back to beat only one home over 1,400m in Class 3.

But he had excuses. Baertschiger told the stewards that his horse was not suited by the big weight (58.5kg) and the fast tempo.

He added that the horse would be spelled - and it has certainly worked wonders with the rest.

"Red Ocean trialled very well. He matured during his spell. His trial (in a fast time) didn't surprise me, as I have a good opinion of him, and he has been galloping great," said Baertschiger.

"He'll be running next week in the Class 3 1,400m and will be third-up in the Derby. Second-up will be the Stewards' Cup."

The Team Work Stable-owned Shanghai Star started his racing career last year under trainer Michael Clements.

He was unplaced in all three runs and was transferred to Baertschiger after his last outing in July.

"He had a hairline fracture in his knee, so he had three months off. He then started back working and, five weeks later, he fractured his splint bone, so another three-month spell," said Baertschiger.

"The owners have been very patient and his trial was very impressive yesterday. He will be entered for the Novice 1,200m next week."

With Shanghai Star and Golden Monkey scoring impressive trial victories, plus a few more rising stars expected to throw in their claims, that Novice race will surely be an exciting affair.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline A fresh Red Ocean making big waves. Subscribe