Racing: Three cheers for Clements

Racing: Three cheers for Clements

Bang-in-form trainer Michael Clements enjoyed his second treble of the season on Sunday, courtesy of I like, Lucky Mission and Pint Sized Prince.

The Zimbabwean-born trainer started 2014 with a big bang by saddling three winners, who included I Like and Lucky Mission. His other winner that day was California Kid.

Sunday's win, in fact, was Lucky Mission's hat-trick and the Argentine-bred gelding is now targeted for the Group 3 Singapore Three- Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m on March 30.

The $250,000 feature, which promises to be a thriller with many star three-year-olds in the contest, including 2013 Champion Juvenile War Affair who is the likely favourite, is the first leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge.

The second leg is the $350,000 Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m on April 20.

The series culminates with the $500,000 Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m on May 16.

Clements said that Lucky Mission, who led all the way with Vagner Leal astride, is "a workman-like type of horse who is still a three-year-old but has always been honest and always does what is asked of him".

He added: "He's been moving up the classes well and still manages to win.

"I expected him to take the lead easily today, as he's a horse with some speed and his next race will probably be the Three-Year-Old Sprint at the end of the month."

As for I Like, Clements had thought that his charge was beaten when Phantom Knight had shot ahead.

But jockey Lisa Allpress, who certainly deserves a medal for her 11 out of 10 ride, persevered and rode like a woman possessed to rally for a shorthead victory.

PAT ON THE BACK

Allpress received a pat on the back from the trainer for her "great, strong ride" which made all the difference.

Clements himself deserved praise for transforming Pint Sized Prince into a money-spinner for his owner.

Since he took over the horse early last year, he has sent Pint Sized Prince out 14 times for four wins, three seconds and a third.

The Australian-bred had won only once and placed six times from 16 starts when trained by Steven Burridge and then Michael Freedman.

Sunday's treble has brought Clements' season's tally to 11 winners, the same number as Shane Baertschiger, Patrick Shaw and Brian Dean.

Top on the trainer's table are Hideyuki Takaoka and Cliff Brown, with 16 winners apiece.

Freedman, eight-time champion Laurie Laxon and Alwin Tan are next with 15 winners each.

On strike rate, Clements is second on the 26-trainer list at Kranji at 18.03 per cent, just a fraction behind Baert-schiger (18.33 per cent).

Brown is next at 16.16 per cent.


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