With the withdrawal of likely top pick Magnificent Gold in today’s Class 5 race over the mile, trainer Tim Fitzsimmons may have to rely on just Dancing Light in the last race to keep him at the top this week.
The leading handler has made the last-start winner his best chance from a smallish team of seven, further cut back by the early scratching of Nate’s Champion in Race 7.
Dancing Light’s awkward alley in the $50,000 Class 4 race over the Polytrack 1,000m does not seem to deter Fitzsimmons either.
“He’s my best chance of the day. He has held his form since he won impressively when going all the way at his last start,” he said.
“I’m not worried about the wide barrier this time, as he has heaps of speed out of the barriers.
“Hopefully, he can lead if he is fast enough. If not, we can sit off Ablest Ascend.”
It is well documented that Tivic Stable’s two-time winner can be quite unruly, but Fitzsimmons said he was slowly mending his ways.
“He’s still a horse you need to watch,” he said.
“He still needs to be treated with kid gloves. But he’s doing things the right way.”
A win this afternoon will cement his place among a trio Fitzsimmons has tagged for the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) on June 18, even if the turf still remains unconquered territory for the son of Street Boss.
“He’s going for the first leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old races. He’s shown better Polytrack form, but he’s yet to race without earmuffs on grass,” said Fitzsimmons.
“At his first start on turf, there was heavy rain and he didn’t like it. At his second start, he ran third, which wasn’t too bad, and he has improved since.
“I’ve also got Golden Monkey and Gold Ten Sixty-One. A few weeks ago, we thought the three-year-old batch wasn’t that strong.
“But there’s been a few good ones that have come through since, and I think Silent Is Gold will be the horse to beat.
“I thought Golden Monkey’s run behind Silent Is Gold last week was huge. I’m not saying he would have won.
“But he jumped from 12 – and if he had drawn better – he could have finished a lot closer.”
The thrill of planning towards a first feature-race win is not lost on a trainer, who three years ago, was going through teething troubles and wondering if he had done the right thing in going solo.
Cliff Brown’s former assistant trainer has, since last year, hit his straps, not without the invaluable enlistment of champion jockey Manoel Nunes – whose only combination with Fitzsimmons today is incidentally Dancing Light.
But Fitzsimmons said the flip side of the coin is that a relatively new yard like his cannot possibly run full steam ahead forever.
“There is a possibility of a slightly quiet time in the next six weeks,” he cautioned.
“I have a few horses going to Malaysia and I have 13 unraced horses who’ll take a while to get going.
“Obviously, I’ll still try and keep my stable ticking over. But I think I will be stronger at the back end.
“I’m not thinking about the premiership. If it happens, it happens.
“I just want to keep winning races. But it’ll be hard against the much bigger stables like Michael Clements and Donna Logan. They have a lot more firepower.
“But I’m happy with the way things are going. Even if I don’t win the premiership this year, it’s a young stable and I’m still building up.”
On 28 winners, he should easily better last year’s score of 33 winners. “I just have to manage the team I have and the rest will sort itself out,” he said.