Three months after landing its maiden Group 1 race the China Horse Club’s Singapore stable harbors weighty ambitions in the Year of the Horse.
Tropaios, the talismanic Longines Singapore Gold Cup winner, is again set to take a lead role in the club’s Singapore operations with the S$3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup and the defense of his Gold Cup title among his priorities for the year ahead. Joining him will be a growing team of lightly raced and unraced performers that will lift the CHC’s involvement in Singapore from three to nine.
“I am really excited by the year ahead. The China Horse Club has a fantastic team of horses already in Singapore and there are some additional thoroughbreds that will come online in the coming months that I’m certainly looking forward to having in the stable,” trainer Michael Freedman said.
“The seasonal debut of Tropaios suggests that he is in tremendous order. He has won the Gold Cup in 2013 and the members of the CHC rightly have high expectations again this season. He will target the premier staying races in Singapore and hopefully he can take his place in the Singapore Airlines International. That would be a great thrill for all concerned.”
The CHC ranked among the leading five owners in Singapore in 2013 despite only a trio of performers racing. The gifted Rite of Spring has hinted that he could be a most capable foil to Tropaios and this season he will be given his chance to etch his moniker onto some of Singapore’s most coveted trophies.
In a maiden five start preparation the striking bay spread eagled fields on three occasions and was not disgraced when runner-up in the remaining two starts.
“Rite of Spring is a really exciting horse. He has made a most encouraging start to his career and this preparation he will be given his chance to take on Singapore’s best three-year-olds in the Three Year Old Series,” Freedman said.
“He has grown into a magnificent type and hopefully he can play a great role for the club this season.” Tropaios and Rite of Spring will not shoulder expectation alone in 2014. The lightly raced duo Arrowhead and Iznate are not to be dismissed in Freedman’s view. Arrowhead came to Singapore at the same time as Rite of Spring but didn’t acclimatize as well as his stablemate. Iznate, a gelding from France, is the first of a series of new additions to the team in 2014.
“Arrowhead is still being tuned up but he has acclimatized better this preparation. We haven’t seen what he is capable of and he can do his part for the CHC team,” the trained commented.
“The latest addition is Iznate, I’m still getting a feel for him but he has a wonderful attitude and looks to be settling in really well here in Singapore. That is certainly a very important step for these European horses.
“Iznate was selected as a prospect for the Derby and we will work towards this goal. It looks like it could be a pretty good crop of four-year-olds this year but Iznate showed ability in France last season from only a handful of starts so it will be interesting to see how he goes.”