First, his consistency – never out of the top three in his last seven starts – stands him in good stead.
Then his trial victory last week underscored his winning chances in tomorrow’s penultimate event – the $50,000 Class 4 Div 1 race over the Polytrack 1,000m.
If you are looking for an auspicious start to the new Singapore racing season, then make a date with the aptly named Romantic at 5pm tomorrow.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, trainer Jason Lim’s charge should give racing fans welcoming back the excitement of the Sport of Kings after a month’s break plenty to cheer. After seeing his trial, my mind was set: He would be my top pick tomorrow (Jan 2).
Here we have a Class 4 horse beating a Class 1 galloper Muraahib so easily in the trial. Granted, trials are not races and horses are not ridden flat out to win. But he overtook Muraahib superbly.
Ridden by former champion jockey and Lim’s deputy Richard Lim, who has been granted stables by the Singapore Turf Club, Romantic just went past Muraahib under his own steam. His strides were big and bold.
Obviously, the Law Hung Kam-owned six-year-old Kiwi-bred is ready to run the race of his life.
Besides his top form, Romantic will also be helped by apprentice jockey Akmazani Mazuki’s 4kg claim. This will bring his handicapped weight down from 58kg to 54kg. It is certainly a wise decision by his connections. It will greatly enhance his chances.
Kranji racegoers may be hearing Akmazani’s name for the first time. After all, it will be his debut.
But fret not, the 23-year-old Malaysian is not totally wet behind the ears. He had seven winners in Malaysia, before relocating to Singapore.
He was first granted an apprentice jockey licence in Malaysia in July 2019. He was indentured to trainer Frank Maynard until December 2020. After that, the 50kg rider joined Singapore trainer Jerome Tan as a senior track rider before getting his apprentice jockey licence.
Akmazani has six rides tomorrow. Romantic is his last mount of the day.
I also like his Race 5 mount, Lim’s Shot, for his new master.
Although nine years old, the grey still races like a youngster. He seldom runs a bad race and was a winner just two starts back. He was third in his last outing.
His final gallop on Tuesday morning was sparkling. Down in Class 5 with the lightest weight, he looks like good value.
Trainer Desmond Koh’s apprentice jockey, Faiz Khair, will also be making his debut. The 27-year-old Singaporean has three rides – two for his master and one for trainer Leslie Khoo.
He began as a syce with Koh under the Singapore Training Academy for Racing Programme in October 2015. He upgraded to a track rider in November the following year. He also goes to scale at 50kg.