Southern legend can fly HK flag

Hong Kong's Southern Legend (No. 4) looks a cut above his 12 rivals in tonight's $1.5 million Group 1 invitational Kranji Mile over 1,600m.
Hong Kong's Southern Legend (No. 4) looks a cut above his 12 rivals in tonight's $1.5 million Group 1 invitational Kranji Mile over 1,600m.PHOTO: HKJC

Likely favourite has the class to race away with Group 1 $1.5 million Kranji Mile today

Singapore is a favourite hunting ground for Asia's racing powerhouse Hong Kong, where horse-racing is the most popular spectator sport.

The record is there for all to see.

Just before the $3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup (2,000m) and $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint (1,200m) were discontinued in 2016, it sort of became so predictable with Hong Kong achieving the incredulous SIA Cup-KrisFlyer double for three years in a row.

The former British colony was successful with Military Attack (SIA Cup) and Lucky Nine (KrisFlyer) in 2013, Dan Excel and Lucky Nine in 2014 and Dan Excel and Aerovelocity in 2015. The racing-mad nation also won the KrisFlyer with Sacred Kingdom in 2009 and Green Birdie in 2010.

Impressive statistics, indeed.

So, it's no surprise Hong Kong was one of the first supporters of the Singapore Turf Club's (STC) $1.5 million Kranji Mile, which is a prelude to the return of international racing to Kranji next year.

The Group 1 race over 1,600m, in which four international horses are invited but is left with three with the withdrawal of the English representative through injury, is an STC initiative to improve the quality of local racing and increase international following for Singapore racing.

Not surprisingly again, Hong Kong secured two of the slots and, although Southern Legend and Horse Of Fortune are not the country's biggest names, they can prove good enough in this domestic Group 1 feature against Kranji's Magnificent 10 and New Zealand hopeful Ocean Emperor.

While Singapore is not devoid of any chances with reigning Horse of the Year Infantry, last-start Group 2 Chairman's Trophy winner Circuit Land, himself a former Hong Kong galloper, and Group 3 Committee's Prize winner Elite Excalibur, Southern Legend obviously looks the horse they all have to beat.

Firstly, the Boniface Ho-owned five-year-old is in terrific form and tuned on a T for tonight's assignment.

Just two starts back, the bay Australian-bred led all the way for his fourth Hong Kong victory in 11 starts. This was over tonight's Kranji Mile trip.

Then, last start on April 29, Southern Legend finished a creditable third behind one of Hong Kong's equine stars Beauty Generation in the International Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin, beaten by less than two lengths. This is splendid form, considering that Beauty Generation is also the winner of last December's International Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile.

Secondly, the man who trains Southern Legend certainly knows what it takes to win a major race at Kranji. He is none other than three-time Hong Kong champion Caspar Fownes, who, incidentally, trained KrisFlyer winners Lucky Nine and Green Birdie. He is back to try his luck at Kranji for the ninth time.

Thirdly, Southern Legend will be ridden by the jockey who seemingly can do no wrong at the moment, Zac Purton, who has closed in fast on Joao Moreira for his second champion jockey's title. By the way, the Australian was the winning jockey of SIA Cup winner Military Attack and KrisFlyer victor Aerovelocity.

Given the horse, trainer and jockey combination and credentials, it looks like Southern Legend is set to fly Hong Kong's red-and-white Bauhinia flag once more at Kranji tonight.


Friday’s South Africa results

RACE 1

1st 11 National Park ($47-$8)

2nd 7 Finley Hill ($8)

3rd 5 Cape Leopard ($13)

4th 10 Kissmebackfoot

Forecast $79

Place Forecast (7-11) $18, (5-11) $16, (5-7) $19

Tierce $349

Trio $164

Quartet No winner ($594 jackpot carried forward to next race)

RACE 2

1st 1 San Rochelle ($13-$7)

2nd 2 Estimet ($20)

3rd 12 Seattle Empress ($12)

4th 10 Melinda

Forecast $65

Place Forecast (1-2) $18, (1-12) $10, (2-12) $46

Tierce $600

Trio $172

Quartet No winner ($1,112 carried forward)

RACE 3

1st 7 Kobus ($23-$8)

2nd 1 Supreme Winter ($6)

3rd 8 Little Drummer Boy ($48)

4th 5 Buzzards Bay

Forecast $14

Place Forecast (1-7) $5, (7-8) $58, (1-8) $53

Tierce $3,083

Trio $182

Quartet $2,546

RACE 4

1st 4 Ivory Hunter ($60-$14)

2nd 3 State Capture ($6)

3rd 6 Chanone's Theory ($18)

4th 5 Mahir

Forecast $44

Place Forecast (3-4) $14, (4-6) $31, (3-6) $24

Tierce $1,159

Trio $137

Quartet No winner ($642 carried forward)

RACE 5

1st 1 Gimme The Stars ($25-$9)

2nd 5 Story Of My Life ($11)

3rd 9 All The Bids ($20)

4th 7 Prospect Strike

Forecast $38

Place Forecast (1-5) $14, (1-9) $23, (5-9) $36

Tierce $870

Trio $197

Quartet No winner ($1,628 carried forward)

RACE 6

1st 5 Afrikaburn ($108-$24)

2nd 9 Sacred Oration ($14)

3rd 6 Union Jack ($6)

4th 10 Soviet Cosmonaut

Forecast $215

Place Forecast (5-9) $52, (5-6) $15, (6-9) $17

Tierce No winner ($5,652 carried forward)

Trio $195

Quartet No winner ($2,976 carried forward)

RACE 7

1st 5 Desert Wisdom ($72-$27)

2nd 7 Frikkie ($30)

3rd 4 My World ($7)

4th 6 Plano

Forecast $216

Place Forecast (5-7) $62, (4-5) $23, (4-7) $25

Tierce $4,706

Trio No winner ($1,310 carried forward)

Quartet No winner ($3,700 carried forward)

Scratching: 9 Paddington

RACE 8

1st 1 Zevenastic ($41-$16)

2nd 11 Chestnut Wild ($20)

3rd 10 Pick Again ($17)

4th 4 Captain Marooned

Forecast $279

Place Forecast (1-11) $74, (1-10) $23, (10-11) $48

Tierce $950

Trio $506

Quartet No winner ($5,320 carried forward)

Scratching: 2 Fort Winter

Result of Races 9 was not available at press time. Log on to www.turfclub.com.sg for the results.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2018, with the headline 'Southern legend can fly HK flag'. Print Edition | Subscribe