Racing: Wild Geese to fly to Dubai?

AWAY HE GOES: Wild Geese responding brilliantly to champion apprentice A'Isisuhairi Kasim's vigorous riding to beat Bendicion (inside), with Longines Singapore Gold Cup winner Tropaios third, in Race 7 at Kranji on Sunday.

Wild Geese gave his chance of an invitation to the US$5 million (S$6.3 million) Group 1 Dubai Duty Free a boost by winning the $125,000 World Delight 2007 Stakes over 1,600m on Sunday.

Trainer Steven Burridge and the owner, Dr Tan Kai Chah, have already nominated the English-bred gelding for the 1,800m turf event held at the world's richest raceday, the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 29, but were sweating on a win on home soil first.

Runner-up to Better Life in last year's Emirates Singapore Derby (2,000m), Wild Geese, who raced as Curia Regis for trainer David Marnane in Ireland, has subsequently seldom been disgraced at the elite level, running third to Super Ninetyseven in the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1,800m) and fifth to Tropaios in the Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup (2,200m).

He met Tropaios again on Sunday, though this time with two runs under the belt, including one win in a 1,200m race first-up and a fifth to Johnny Guitar in a 1,400m race, while the Gold Cup winner was resuming for trainer Michael Freedman.

THIRD FAVOURITE

Punters still made Tropaios as the $16 favourite, while Wild Geese was only third in the market at $22. Bendicion was the second fancy at ($20. The end result proved them right, though not quite in the order they had predicted.

Though the mile may not be his pet trip, Tropaios (Manoel Nunes) looked on the cusp of a remarkable first-up win when he emerged as the fresh horse at the 300m after settling near the rear.

But Bendicion (Alan Munro), on the rails, and Wild Geese (apprentice A'Isisuhairi "Harry" Kasim), on the outside, were far from spent forces.

Bendicion looked like she could engineer enough resistance to hold on, but Wild Geese ultimately flattened out a bit better to prevail by half a length from Bendicion.

GOOD OPPOSITION

Looking a touch dour in the concluding stages, Tropaios, presumably short of one run, missed second place by a nose.

The winning time was 1min 34.71sec.

"He was facing some pretty good opposition today and he ground away to a solid win," said Burridge.

"He's been an ultra-consistent horse and has really found his form this time in. Harry rode him exceptionally well.

"I'll see how he pulls up before deciding if he goes to Dubai or not. I would imagine he has earned enough points to qualify for the Dubai Duty Free, but we'll see.

"I was told the field is not all that strong for that race this year. So it is worth a shot.

"But, even if he does not go there, we have races like the Polytrack Mile Championship and other cards up our sleeve here."


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