Only Mr Hanks will be worse off than trainer Cliff Brown’s duo of Mister Yeoh and Filibuster (pictured above) when they are loaded up in the capacity 16-horse field of the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on Friday.
Should there be no scratching and with Emergency Acceptor My Gold drawn in six, Mister Yeoh and Filibuster will break side by side from gates No 14 and 15 respectively.
Not quite the starting scenario Brown was hoping for his two three-year-olds in the first Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, but one which is not making the typically unflappable Australian lose sleep either.
Mister Yeoh (Michael Rodd) will have to be ridden positive from his horror gate on Friday.
“They’ve both drawn very average. There is no other choice but to go forward and try and maintain with the speed,” said Brown.
“I think the speed will be crazy in that race, and I reckon it will set it up for a horse that sits off the pace and gets home – like Mr Clint.
“But there is no other way, my two horses will have to go forward from those gates. They are both fit and well and it will be all down to luck in the running.”
A son of Wanted, Mister Yeoh was ultra-impressive at his Kranji debut two weeks ago, but is this time facing much more robust opposition than the Class 4 Non Premier company he flogged by more than seven lengths. Raced by the same connections who owned one of Brown’s former promising three-year-olds, Fitzroy, Mister Yeoh will have his debut winning partner Michael Rodd back on.
With three starts under the belt, Filibuster has a little more racing experience than her stablemate, but she has also had a lot more exposure with barrier handlers.
A noted barrier rogue, the daughter of Ilovethiscity has, however, mended her ways after all the hard work and patience shown by all concerned. She jumped on terms when the gates crash back at all her three starts, winning her first two with Manoel Nunes astride by being up there early while she was a spent force after being caught wide at her last start when Rodd took over.
Filibuster will this Friday be ridden by a jockey who may be at his first visit at Kranji, but who certainly knows how to steer young fillies from an awkward spot to the top spot at the finish – Ben Melham.
She Will Reign drew 11 in the 2017 Golden Slipper, but in a nifty manoeuvre shortly after the start, the Melbourne jockey somehow managed to slot the Gary Portelli-trained filly onto a ground-saving run along the rails, punching right through midrace to be within striking distance of leader Houtzen upon straightening, before cutting the ribbons as they set sail towards the line.
Melham has linked up a few times with Brown when the latter was still training in Victoria, but the trainer said he had nothing to do with the call-up.
“It’s the owner (Divided House Stable) and Simon Miller (trainer in Perth) who got Ben up here to ride their filly,” said Brown.
“He’s a very good jockey and rode a few winners for me back in the days when I was still in Melbourne. It’s a sticky barrier, but let’s hope things go well for them, just like for Michael and Mister Yeoh.
“Like I said, I think they will roll along and that may well set it up for a backmarker. We’ll see.”