Horse racing: El Padrino gets Dubai invite

Horse racing: El Padrino gets Dubai invite
El Padrino, with jockey David Flores astride, won the Group 3 Merlion Trohy on 14 March 2014. Mr Alwin Tan (right) is El Padrino's trainer.

Last Friday's Merlion Trophy winner El Padrino has earned an invite to Dubai.

A happy trainer Alwin Tan said on Sunday that he received a call from Dubai after his gelding's comprehensive five-length victory in the Group 3 feature event over 1,200m on Polytrack, and will compete in the Golden Shaheen over 1,200m on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan on March 29.

It is the same International Group 1 race that Singapore's equine celebrity Rocket Man won in 2011.

After discussing with the horse's owner, Law Teik Hin, the connections have decided to take up the invitation.

"It's very last minute, and I'm very happy and excited," said Tan.

"I think we should give it a try there."

The travel arrangement will be made by Dubai and the Singapore Turf Club will be assisting Tan, who will be competing overseas for the first time.

Tan hopes that El Padrino, who had the required travel vaccination done last Saturday, can be in Dubai at least 10 days before the big race. If it's going to be just four to five days, he might not send El Padrino.

"It's going to be too close with four to five days to settle down and prepare," said Tan, who was on his way to the airport to head to Australia for the Gold Coast sales. He will be back on Wednesday.

As jockey Oscar Chavez knows the horse inside-out and has ridden the horse in Dubai, he has been nominated for the ride.

Before the Merlion Trophy victory with Mexican-born jockey David Flores astride, the Panamanian-born jockey had been on board the horse in all his 23 previous outings.

Three of his starts were in Dubai in early 2012, when trained by Steven Burridge.


El Padrino won his debut there in a 1,400m race, in a record time of 1min 22.66sec. But the bay gelding disappointed in his next two races before returning to Singapore.

Last Friday, Chavez opted to ride Captain Obvious in the Merlion Trophy and finished third.

He said he chose Captain Obvious over El Padrino because of Captain Obvious' weight advantage in the race.

Besides the Golden Shaheen, El Padrino has also been included in the $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint nomination list at Kranji.

On Sunday, Tan continued his winning ways with another winner, $9 favourite LASER STORM in Race 4, to bring his two-day tally to five.

Last Friday, he saddled a four-bagger - Happy Forever, Perfect Challenger, El Padrino and Tiger Bee.

He is leading in the trainers' premiership table with 20 winners, two in front of Michael Freedman, who sent out three winners on Sunday.

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