Commanding win may spell Stewards' Cup, Derby

With the Stewards’ Cup just around the corner and the Singapore Derby not too far behind, trainer Mark Walker admits the thought of testing those waters with the in-form Savvy Command has crossed his mind, but remains guarded about his chances of making the cut.

SAVVY COMMAND winning the RESTRICTED MAIDEN
SAVVY COMMAND winning the RESTRICTED MAIDEN Picture: Singapore Turf Club

On 76 points, with the last of his two consecutive wins coming in a Class 3 race over seven furlongs carrying the postage-stamp load of 50kgs, the Savabeel four-year-old will need to not only add a third win on the trot in Saturday's $70,000 Class 3 race (1400m), but outdo himself with a big win to be worthy of a shot at either feature race, said the three-time Singapore champion trainer, who interestingly, has yet to crack those two four-year-old events in his 11 years at Kranji.

The Group 2 Stewards' Cup (1600m) will be run on July 3 while the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) comes up three weeks later on July 25. They were known as the second and third Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, but not this year with the cancellation of the first Leg, the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m).

Walker also saddles last-start winner Axel and Nationality in Saturday's event, but it's clearly Savvy Command  the one with the upside – and more at stake.

"We'll play it by ear. Savvy Command's running in a hot field on Saturday," said Walker.

"He's by Savabeel, so I think he will stay, but he'll have to win really well for me to consider running him in the Stewards' Cup or the Derby.

"He got all the favours at his last win. He drew a good gate and never went around a horse, the second horse (Quarter Back) was unlucky, but my horse had every possible favour.

"He gets a four-kilo claim, and I'm sticking with (last-start winning partner) Jerlyn (Seow Poh Hui) as she rode the horse very well at that last start.

"He has drawn well again, which will help on the Short Course D with the rails so far out, it's a terrible track if you are caught wide.

"He goes a bit keen and he will need cover in the running."

Walker is not ruling out a cheeky run from Axel, even if he is convinced a longer distance would have been more up his street. The Darci Brahma five-year-old has recorded three of his five wins over seven furlongs, but Walker has been angling him towards middle distances of late.

"I think Axel is better suited by more distance. He has also drawn an outside gate (14)," said Walker.

"It will be tougher for him this time, and also for Nationality (ex-Lee Freedman). He's had three runs for me, but he's an older horse (six-year-old by Commands) and needs to drop to Class 4 to be more competitive."

Oscar Chavez will team up with the China Horse Club-owned galloper, who scored the last of his two Polytrack wins 11 months ago while Wong Chin Chuen is booked on Axel.


Singapore Turf Club