From his resume, it is evident that Con Speranza is one genuine galloper and ultra consistent.
In 10 Kranji starts, the Hideyuki Takaoka-trained and Big Valley Stable-owned four-year-old New Zealand-bred finished out of the frame just once.
The bay gelding has notched two wins, two seconds, four thirds and a fourth. The only time he was out of the first four – a seventh – he had plenty of excuses.
First, he raced keenly in front in the early stages. His rider, Oscar Chavez, said it was not the intention to lead.
He attempted to settle Con Speranza but his mount overraced on the outside of another runner to take over the lead.
He was joined by Buddy Buddy at the 1,300m mark. Together, they streaked to a commanding lead – by seven to eight lengths. It was obvious they went too fast.
But Con Speranza showed he still had plenty in the tank. While Buddy Buddy raised the white flag at the top of the straight, he kicked away. The kamikaze pace eventually took its toll. He was swarmed late and ended up seventh, but only about 31/2 lengths behind.
The winner, King’s Command, went on to finish a smack-up eighth behind Lim’s Lightning in the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m.
Chavez said Con Speranza responded initially to his riding in the straight but weakened in the concluding stages.
Besides the overracing and overly fast pace setbacks, the 1,800m distance that day was also a tad long for Con Speranza. It was his only attempt beyond 1,600m.
He started his career over sprints and gradually developed some stamina to score twice over 1,600m, including his last start on Jan 22.
Both his victories were in Class 4, the same grade as tomorrow’s Race 6 (2.30pm).
After a quick jump in his last success, jockey Marc Lerner locked him up, with his mount’s head almost to his chest, to track the leader Superlative.
The Frenchman released more rein only when his mount relaxed. Turning for home, he asked and Con Speranza gave.
With plenty in reserve, the gelding bolted. The race was as good as over. Con Speranza went on to score by four comfortable lengths.
He clocked a decent 1min 36.13sec with 55.5kg.
The additional 31/2kg may look a hindrance but Con Speranza is a big horse who should be able to take it.
He still looks too good in Class 4. Gate 5 – the same as his last start – will work in his favour again.
The likely threat will come from the Tim FItzsimmons-trained Hero.
The winner of two of his last five starts was a good second last time over 1,400m. He has thrived, based on his second in last week’s trial.
He will be getting 3kg from Con Speranza but he has to pull out all the stops to deny the former from getting his back-to-back success.
Hero will partner the season’s leading jockey Manoel Nunes, who has another great book of rides.
I have picked five of his mounts as my first choices – Despacito (Race 4), Kwazii (Race 5), Good Catch (Race 7), Lucky Jinsha (Race 9) and Boy Xander (Race 10).
From 10 Kranji starts, Con Speranza has two wins, two seconds, four thirds and a fourth. His only out-of-board outing was a creditable seventh.