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Analysis: Singapore Airlines International Cup, KrisFlyer International Sprint

It has been another wonderful week in Singapore. Below is our analysis of the two main international races. Good luck!

SG$1,000,000 KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1) – 1,200 metres – turf

The defending champion, #1 LUCKY NINE, is incredibly well drawn in two, while Dubai Golden Shaheen winner #2 STERLING CITY leaves something to be desired from ten. Both are competent, but the advantage absolutely has to go to the favorably drawn Lucky Nine. Is this a guaranteed quinella, though? We don’t think so. Sterling City might be more of a 1,400-metre horse on grass, and Lucky Nine has been occasionally spotty in recent runs. He takes the blinkers off and that should be good for him, but we just can’t back either with confidence.

#4 ZAC SPIRIT has been the soaring local, winning seven of his last eight, the lone loss in the bunch over 1,600 metres. He sits just off the pace and has a plum draw in three. Given his proficiency most recently, and over this course, an ability for Alan Munro to know exactly where Lucky Nine is, and no one that seems all that intent on blowing away on the lead to set it up for a closer, he seems a very logical contender.

#8 MEDICEAN MAN was a superb fourth behind Amber Sky in the Al Quoz Sprint and is a rare consistent sort in this bunch. He’s added a tongue tie in recent starts and he just fires with greater consistency when that happened. Never far away in his last five start, you have to consider him a great chance, especially given his lovely rail draw. A real chance.

#10 SLEW OF LODE is our real roughie chance for the race – brilliant trackwork this week, cutting back to 1,200 metres, some positive comments from just about everyone we could find locally, and some very solid efforts in the past over the course. Could he be Ato #2, we’ll see. The price is at least worth a flyer.

While the connections weren’t pleased with the draw for #7 BALMONT MAST, he does seem to have the ability to settle well out of pace and make one run. He missed the kick last year from an inside draw and if he breaks level from this outer flow, we rate him a shot to grab another slice.

1st – #4 ZAC SPIRIT, 2nd – #1 LUCKY NINE, 3rd – #8 MEDICEAN MAN, 4th – #10 SLEW OF LODE

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SG$3,000,000 Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1) – 2,000 metres – turf

There should be little doubt that #2 DAN EXCEL is going forward drawn in one, but the pure speed in the race comes from #3 TOKEI HALO, who will have to go from the outside in nine. How long can they both last up front is anyone’s guess, but we think it is near impossible to think Dan Excel can last, not just given how he ran in this race last year, but also how he’s run last out and his appearance at trackwork this week. #9 WILD GEESE should also be in the early pace mix, at least from a tracking position. He will be forced to go drawn in two with Dan Excel to his inside, coming off a win in the local Queen Elizabeth II Cup where he made all the running under an enterprising ride from apprentice Harry Kasim. Dan Excel seems a supreme underlay on most books – as low as 7-2 and as high as 6-1.

With the likely decent pace, the race just seems to setup for #1 MILITARY ATTACK, who seems setup for the repeat. Doesn’t an 80% Military Attack win this race anyway? He ran very well in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1), just beaten off by the progressive and emergent star Designs On Rome. Surely, Joao Moreira needs to work out a trip from gate ten, but who doesn’t? The value might not be there, but he is impossible to ignore given everything we’ve contemplated recently – last race performance, trackwork appearance, pace setup. Sure he is the favorite, but we can’t ignore he is the best horse in the race, and far and away the most likely winner.

#7 SMOKING SUN and #8 LIMARIO were done no favors at the draw, each going from 11 and 12, but both come into the race in great stead. The former has been aimed here for months, and connections said both before and after the Prix Ganay that he would need the race to get more fit for this spot. Beaten six lengths by Treve and Cirrus Des Aigles is nothing to be embarrassed by, and if he is still improving, he lands a blow here. The latter was respectable in Dubai, but seems like he would obviously be better on grass as his back form shows, there is no doubt of it. Limario holds the mark for the best trackwork of the week, sizzling over the course and just seeming to be very happy to be on grass. His performances in Dubai are much better than they look on paper, having finished in close attendance to eventual World Cup winner African Story and then beaten about two lengths by Variety Club, who bolted hom in Hong Kong. Both need to work trips from barriers wider than the favorite Military Attack, and both should sit midpack trips, but their value is likely so significant they cannot be ignored. Game on.

#5 SIDE GLANCE just does not win often, just once in his last fourteen starts, and that was in a Mackinnon Stakes (G1) at Flemington where the competition is winless in more than 20 starts since. Not pretty. The pace was sketchy in that race and Jamie Spencer’s aggressive mid-race tactics made the difference. There will be no such issue in this race. In Dubai, he had the rough run wide, covering 19 metres more than African Story in the Dubai World Cup according to the Trakus data. Essentially, the data shows that Side Glance averaged as fast a speed during the race as the winner. While we can totally see him grabbing a placing, and he really hasn’t done anything to turn us off, he just is near reliable enough to put on top.

Locally based #4 JOHNNY GUITAR is getting plenty of ante-post action, but #11 TROPAIOS was completely pace compromised last time and has run better here in the past, these two seem like the most likely locals to grab a slice of the action, if any. Last time out, Tropaios covered 10 metres more than winner #9 WILD GEESE when beaten six lengths.

1st – #1 MILITARY ATTACK, 2nd – #7 SMOKING SUN, 3rd – #8 LIMARIO, 4th – #5 SIDE GLANCE

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Punting recommendations:

The win prices on Smoking Sun and Limario are likely good enough on the European books, the Singapore and Hong Kong totes to think they are both worth backing.

Exotics players should consider a first-three-home play with Military Attack over Smoking Sun, Limario, Side Glance, and perhaps even Tokei Halo with several others in third. If you can get Dan Excel out of the mix, the value greatly increases. If possible in your location, laying #2 Dan Excel seems a legitimate strategy as well.

Zac Spirit offers value in the KrisFlyer, and he happens to be a very good horse, so you are right to get on him. Slew of Lode is worth a small flyer at a massive price. Getting Medicean Man in the first three, even a Hong Kong winner, is a legitimate angle too.

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