The King’s back in Command, Latest Racing News

Starved of wins since January, trainer Shane Baertschiger had double the reason to smile after Alexander and King’s Command snapped the mini-run of outs on Saturday.

“We haven’t had very good chances recently, but it’s good to finally have two winners,” said the Australian trainer, whose last visit to the winner’s circle came on Jan 22 when he led in his fifth 2022 winner Eight Ball.

“We’re looking at the Kranji Mile for King’s Command, but until then, he’s in no man’s land with no Class 2 race in the next two months.

“There is a Class 1 race over 1,400m again in five weeks. It’s okay, we’ll just keep him fresh and he’ll carry only 50kg.”

The $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1,600m) is the feature race to kick off the roster of eight Group events up for grabs this calendar year. 

Two more, the Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1,200m)and Group 1 Raffles Cup (1,600m) will be held over until early next year on Feb 4 and March 25 respectively.

Second-up since his unplaced run in the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) last November, King’s Command, a five-year-old grey by Tavistock, fought hammer and tongs with Karisto (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) inside the last 200m of the $70,000 Class 3 race over 1,400m before prevailing by a head.

Class riser Sabah Star (Oscar Chavez) lost no admirers with a fast-finishing third, another 11/2 lengths away. 

King’s Command, who clocked 1min 21.48sec for the 1,400m on the Long Course, was registering his sixth win from 17 starts for prize money that has tipped over the $200,000 mark for the MA Racing & Hi Vis Stable.

Usually held up for a run from the rear or worse than midfield, King’s Command ($17) settled in closer proximity to the early speed this time around, but Baertschiger said it was not by design.

“At his last start, he dropped to the rear from an outside barrier. We thought he’d settle midfield today, but he began so well that Matty (Kellady) was happy to just let him settle there,” he said.

“A few like (Mohd) Zaki or my track riders gallop him, but Matty has been trialling him and knows him well, too. 

“It’s great he’s won for the first time on him.”

Alexander clearly does not have as much upside as King’s Command, but Baertschiger was still stoked with any horse who finally gets the monkey off his back, especially with one who arrived with some plug in his lineage.

“Alexander is a half-brother to Countofmontecristo, and will be better over more ground. He would have been a tragedy beaten if he didn’t win,” said Baertschiger.

“He couldn’t get a run, he was boxed in. Zaki wanted to force his way out in the straight, but luckily, he waited and finally went through a gap back on the inside when the other horse (Burgundy Lad) rolled off the fence at the 300m.

“He’s no superstar, he can run another two Class 5 races and we’ll then look for a Class 4 race over 2,000m for him.”

The Zacinto four-year-old is out of Towkay mare Replicate, the same dam as multiple-Group winner Countofmontecristo, who is still racing in Australia. 

The former Michael Clements-trained galloper has not placed once in eight starts for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, and recently moved down South to Adelaide to Morphettville trainer Travis Doudle

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