Lerner exercises caution on Boomba

French jockey Marc Lerner knows all about the hype and good vibes around Boomba, but will find out for himself on Saturday if he is the “bomb” he’s been cracked out to be.

BOOMBA winning the JUPITER GOLD 2018 STAKES RESTRICTED MAIDEN Picture: Singapore Turf Club

The Group 3 Singapore Golden Horseshoe winner stamped himself as last year's king of the kids, even if he has not been conferred the champion two-year-old title yet. Usually held in January, this year's 2020 Racing Appreciation Awards to honour all the equine winners of last season has yet to be scheduled.

The son of Showcasing was obviously not as dazzling as stablemate and fellow Barree Stable ward Inferno was in the juvenile series the year before, but he won two from four including the one that mattered, albeit the series was canned with only the 1200m event – usually run as the last Leg – staged as a standalone 2YO feature in December.

Boomba  has not been seen since, but at least, he will resurface this weekend - not his then-trainer and then-jockey, though.

Cliff Brown has returned to Australia, and "bequeathed' Boomba alongside many horses to his former right-hand man Tim Fitzsimmons, while regular partner Ruan Maia now plies his trade in Hong Kong.

With Fitzsimmons supporting Lerner a fair bit these days, it was not too hard to guess which new jockey-trainer combo would be unveiled for Boomba.

Kranji's current leading jockey has already trialled him twice and is the one in the irons when Fitzsimmons schedules a track gallop.

At his first barrier trial since the break, Boomba ran a low-key sixth to Zac Kasa on March 9, but upped the ante at the second one with a smart second to Day Approach on March 30.

Lerner said the gallops were decent without setting pulses racing, instead banking on what he has seen with his own eyes from his previous races, and the low-down he has gleaned on him to get a better guide on a horse he has not race-ridden before.

"Boomba's form is good, but I know more about him from his track record. As we all know, he's a Group winner," said Lerner.

"Everybody's saying how good he is, and I have no doubt he is, but I think there are a lot more expectations riding on him than I have of him.

"Yes, he has competed against very good horses, but he's running against more seasoned older horses this time."

The comeback race is the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m on turf, featuring the likes of last-start winner Legend Of The Sun, Speedy Missile and his trial nemesis Day Approach.

It also represents a two-week deferment to his return to racing given he was being aimed at a Class 4 race over 1200m on Polytrack on March 27.

Fitzsimmons decided to bin that idea after the Polytrack race was not converted to turf as he had hoped it would be.

"He's not an impressive horse on Polytrack, he runs better on turf, but Tim told me not to worry too much as he always works like this on Poly," said Lerner.

"In saying this, his gallop on Tuesday was very good. I'm happy with his work overall, even if he didn't knock my socks off.

"But I've got to know him better in recent months. Tim puts me on in his trials and more important track gallops.

"I know his form from last year. He's always run well except for one bad note (when he finished at the rear in a Class 4 race over 1200m).

"He's an easy horse to ride, though, very straightforward, and he has a lot of speed."

That quality might come in handy from the sticky barrier (eight) he has drawn, but to Lerner, that first-up run was more about a journey of discovery and assessment where the horse is at.

"I just need to see what he has to offer tomorrow going with what he's shown me on the tracks," said Lerner.

"We'll wait for that run and then reassess him as he gains more experience."

While he may be sitting on top of the tree on 10 winners, the former German-based hoop said you were only as good as your last win. For that matter, he hopes to atone from his blank day last Sunday.

"I'm just happy with the greater spread of trainers I ride for these days. My goal is to keep riding winners," he said.

"Tim and I have been working more closely since the end of last year. I'm very grateful he's been putting me on good quality horses like Relentless (whom Boomba beat into third place in the Singapore Golden Horseshoe), who's to me a very good three-year-old, too.

"I have some good rides this week, but I also had a good book last week and it turned out to be a disappointing day. Let's hope for better luck this week."

Out of 10 rides on Saturday, four are for Fitzsimmons. Other than Boomba, Lerner is also booked on Super Atas, Bright Almighty and Valorous, the latter two being recent barrier trial winner and runner-up respectively.

Singapore Turf Club