Baertschiger chases first Gold Cup with Incredible

Thriving five-year-old I’m Incredible spearheads a three-pronged attack for Australian trainer Shane Baertschiger in the SIN G1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) at Kranji Racecourse on Sunday, 10 November.

Last seen racking up his fifth win in a row in the second leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series, the SIN G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m), I'm Incredible's meteoric rise in the handicap has not only amazed racing fans but the trainer too. 

"There is no way I thought a few months back that he would win two Group 3s and now a Group 1, but he's come on by leaps and bounds," said Baertschiger. 

In seven years since taking over from his father Don, Baertschiger has yet to claim a Gold Cup. In fact, it was just this year that he claimed his first G1 success in his own right after Aramco landed the Lion City Cup in May. 

Joined by stablemates Preditor and Blue Swede, bold front-runner I'm Incredible leads the charge as Baertschiger's best chance at winning a Gold Cup, however, as the likely market elect, history is firmly against him. 

The Gold Cup tends to be a graveyard for favourites with just two winning in the last 19 years: Kutub ($1.60) in 2001 and Smart Bet ($4.2) in 2002. The longest-priced winner was Recast ($17) in 2007 while the average winning dividend is $8.0 since the year 2000. 

Of those beaten favourites, last year's market elect King Louis returns to better his sixth-place finishing position for trainer Ricardo Le Grange. 

King Louis has done the chasing behind I'm Incredible at his last three starts for a fourth, a third and most recently missing by an agonizing nose margin in the SIN G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m). 

Le Grange has King Louis racing in career-best form ahead of the Gold Cup and with a llb swing in the weights, as well as the race pressure that comes in such G1s, will be hoping that's enough to turn the tables on foe I'm Incredible. 

Both five-year-olds, I'm Incredible and King Louis tick the age bracket box as history suggests four and five-year-olds are advantaged in the Gold Cup. 

Four-year-olds and five-year-olds are seven wins a piece in the modern era of Kranji racing, combining for 14 victories over the past 19 editions. 

This year, four and five-year-olds make up 11 of the 16-horse field, with defending champion trainer Lee Freedman playing a strong hand with three of those.

Freedman sends out this year's Derby winner Sun Marshal, last year's Gold Cup third-place getter Mr Clint and last-start Class 3 winner Super Dynasty, who looks a pace influence in the race.

Meanwhile, the Gold Cup's most successful trainer, Japanese handler Hideyuki Takaoka, enters this year's Cup with five-year-old mare Makanai.

Makanani was last seen finishing two and a half lengths fifth behind I'm Incredible in the QEII after winning the SIN G1 Raffles Cup (1600m) in September.

The masterful Japanese trainer has tasted Gold Cup success on four occasions: three with El Dorado in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and with Better Life in 2012. 

Hong Kong Jockey Club