Duric holds two aces

Circuit Land (No. 7) beating reigning Horse of the Year Infantry (partly obscured) in the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy race over 1,600m at Kranji on April 27.
Circuit Land (No. 7) beating reigning Horse of the Year Infantry (partly obscured) in the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy race over 1,600m at Kranji on April 27.TNP FILE PHOTO

Reigning champion jockey booked to ride Infantry and Circuit Land in feature races

These days, racegoers always feel reassured to see the name "Vlad Duric" next to the horse of their choice.

Who can blame them? Many times over, their faith in the Australian hoop has been rewarded.

Well, in the months to come, the thousands who walk through the turnstiles at Kranji on race day will have even more reason to cheer.

I mean, what could be better than to see your favourite jockey take the seat on two of Kranji's best horses? That's coming to pass - sooner rather than later.

Yes, the next few months promise to be really interesting and profitable for our reigning champion jockey and his legion of fans.

Circuit Land and Infantry are the two horses Duric will ride. He'll be legged up on Circuit Land in next week's $200,000 Jumbo Jet Trophy over 1,400m and, come Sept 2, he will be the jockey in the saddle of Infantry when the 2017 Horse Of The Year lines up for the Moonbeam Vase, which is over the mile.

Both horses are being prepared for the races by Lee Freedman.

It was only recently that Infantry arrived in Freedman's yard. That, after a successful stay with trainer Alwin Tan where he capped an outstanding record of nine wins, including four at Group level, and close to $2 million in stakes earnings.

While Duric has already teamed up twice with Infantry at his last two outings, the Australian rider has yet to partner the Hong Kong-owned Circuit Land in a race.

Just for the record, it was Circuit Land who gave Freedman his first Singapore silverware when he won the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy over the mile in April.

Both horses have not been sighted since their unplaced runs in the Invitational Group 1 Kranji Mile on May 26. Infantry finished fifth while Circuit Land ran ninth.

A seven-year-old, Circuit Land was a four-time winner in Hong Kong before his owner sent him to Singapore last year in a bid to resurrect his career.

"I'm excited to be riding Circuit Land. I've never ridden him before, but I saw his win in the Chairman's Trophy and he showed a lot of guts to win even though he was trapped three wide," said Duric.

It was at the trials on Thursday morning that Duric got a feel of what it was like to be astride Circuit Land. Needless to say, they won it - in a tight finish.

Until recently, there was a possibility the two gun horses could have been clashing in the same race, but Freedman eventually split them up.

"I'm still getting to know Infantry. I've slowly brought him up and he is going the right way," said the Australian handler.

"We thought the mile first-up was more his go than the Jumbo Jet Trophy. So, he will be in the Moonbeam Vase and Circuit Land will run in the Jumbo Jet.

"I really don't know why he didn't run well in the Kranji Mile. But he's come back good and he is ready to run next week. Same thing with Infantry, we'll just take things as they come."

Freedman's Singapore Guineas winner Mr Clint will have the services of Daniel Moor in the Jumbo Jet Trophy.

Although Mr Clint finished last in Thursday's trial, Freedman and Moor were not overly concerned with the performance.

"He's no flash trialler, especially when he gets up on the inside of horses. He doesn't quite put in like when he does when he goes around horses," said Freedman.

"He's come back good. He's fine and I'm happy enough with him going into the race next Sunday."

Moor said he was not too concerned by the trial because he knew it would be difficult to get off the fence from gate 2.

"I'm giving more weight to his trackwork leading up to his comeback. He's been working really well and has shown no sign he was not coming along," he added.

"He's much better than what his trial run suggests. The Jumbo Jet Trophy will be a very competitive race and it's good of the club to put together a race like that."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Duric holds two aces'. Print Edition | Subscribe