Horse Betting: Thumbs Up not opposable in Cup
After weight adjustment, Thumbs Up with a Timeform rating of 140 gives bettors the green light (or should that be thumb!) to hitch and harvest their dollars in the SIA Cup.
The overseas challenge looks an imposing one for the feature S$3 million G1 Singapore International Cup over 2000m today and Gary Crispe has the Timeform figures to back that up.
Locals have not won the race since Ouzo for trainer Malcolm Thwaites and rider Saimee Jumaat in 2000 and they look up against it this year.
The tenth race on a super card is the highlight by far and impressively the G1 SIA Cup has been won by seven different countries since Ouzo delivered for the home team.
Thumbs Up has won just under a quarter of his starts but in those eight wins we see four came at either G1, G2 or G3 so he does rise to the occasion.
He is, however, also a regular dividend payer with fourteen placings amongst his thirty-five starts but seven of those came at G1 and staggeringly six of them are seconds. All his Group form has been between a mile and 2400m and this powerful closer will do trainer Caspar Fownes and rider Brett Prebble proud as well as Hong Kong.
Prebble knows Thumbs Up well enough and will be looking to do a first atop, and that is win at G1 level on the gelding. He has been aboard eleven times for two wins (at G2 and G3), six placings and three misses (twice fourth included). He has been on at G1 level three times and second has been the outcome each time, so look for the salute coming back to scale should they win that illustrates the name of the horse.
The last start second, albeit distant in the G1 Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin, was behind the smart Japanese galloper Rulership. A good form thread through Rulership is last year he finished sixth in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan to a then rising star but now tragically deceased Rewilding.
The next start saw Rewilding narrowly beat in record time So You Think in the G1 Prince Of Wales Stakes and that is serious international form. Thumbs Up can rumble at the highest level and had done so for several seasons, with form like a second last December to reigning G1 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.
He has been not far away from the gifted Ambitious Dragon and has form ahead and behind the likes of California Memory (a rival today) and Xtension.
Barrier eleven has done him no favours but being a closer it means getting in somewhere with cover is the priority. After weight adjustment, Thumbs Up with a Timeform rating of 140 gives bettors the green light (or should that be thumb!) to hitch and harvest their dollars in the SIA Cup.
The name that is almost alongside in Timeform terms and will be a massive chance is Zazou with plenty to like about this German raider and barrier two is ideal.
It could well be the Year of the German in 2012 and not just in thoroughbred racing, including the Melbourne Cup, but also in sport and in particular the Olympics.
Zazou on a weight-adjusted Timeform rating of 139 can give his owner Ramzan Kadyrov back-to-back Singapore International Cups after he captured it last year with Gitano Hernando. The win by Gitano Hernando gave South Africa their third win in the race in four years, with Jaypeg (2008) and Lizard's Desire (2010) the other victors.
Ironically they have just one runner this year and it is the locally trained Flax, which has become a crowd favourite after the race too as onlookers like to see he is upright leaving the track.
Germany won the Singapore International Cup with Epalo in 2004.
Today we will see Andreas Suborics ride the Waldemar Hickst trained Zazou and he has won aboard the son of Shamardal before at G3. I like the fact third-up we find in the Zazou record is his sole G1 win, which was the Premio Roma in Italy and interestingly Michael Barzalona rode.
Zazou last start ran a good fifth in the G1 Dubai World Cup behind the impressive local Monterosso (ridden by Barzalona) and the form from this rich race stands up big time in the SIA Cup. At his prior start fresh-up we saw Zazou under 60kg demolish the gifted Cirrus Des Aigles by two lengths and that galloper has won his next two races since at G1.
Cirrus Des Aigles also won a record run Champion Stakes last October and narrowly beat So You Think, which has become a wonderfully reliable form source galloper as they always need to run time to beat him.
Even in a tepid run G1 Hong Kong Cup we saw Zazou finish third behind California Memory, after being ridden handy wide before getting over. The form around many of the combatants today is intermingled and tempo is often the main deciding factor about what beats what home.
When the famed Godolphin blue have a runner at G1 anywhere in the world you must respect it as being a targeted chance. Today we see an in-form City Style represent the international equine army and Barzalona will ride the Mahmood Al Zarooni trained gelding.
He has won a third of his races and missed a whole year of racing from January last year until the start of 2012. It may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise with five runs since reaping two wins and three placings and the latter two placed runs have come at G1.
City Style has a Timeform weight-adjusted rating of 138 and is on the same number for the Cup today with the likes of California Memory and Dream Peace.
The admission ticket alone could be worth it today as Barzalona celebrates like no other when going over the line a winner and was standing so tall atop Monterosso at Meydan he could almost touch the night sky stars. Barzalona is a young rider with it all ahead of him and he almost does on the thoroughbred what the Freestyle Motocross riders do on motorbikes to entrall big arena crowds.
Godolphin won the Singapore International Cup in 2002 with Grandera and that same year it came to Melbourne and finished third in the G1 Cox Plate to the late and great Northerly. Gate ten is not helpful for City Style but Godolphin runners make their own luck and always have and always will.
The ghostly grey or white California Memory ran in the Singapore International Cup last year and finished a tiring eight but was ridden upside down.
He was worked up wide to lead down the backstraight and for a sit and pounce type or closer from the back on a strong pace, it was no surprise he punctured. This year he has been going okay but is winless since taking a sit and winning a slow run G1 Hong Kong Cup last December.
His thirds to Ambitious Dragon stack up and last start he was settled down too far away in the Rulership romp at Sha Tin. Felix Coetzee takes the ride and he could get some G1 justice after the injury to Rocket Man deprived him of defending the G1 Krisflyer in front of an adoring home crowd.
Dream Peace rates too high today not to take some notice of, and the four-year-old mare representing France has a tidy record. Gerald Mosse will ride for the Robert Collet stable.
Chinchon is trained in France and last year in the Singapore International Cup ran a monumental fifth after sitting very wide throughout, when ridden by Mosse.
Olivier Delouze will ride this year and third-up the gelding has a good record including a G1 placing. I felt his last start eighth behind Rulership was not too bad at Sha Tin and back to a left-hand venue he represents value.
John Moore was going to bring Xtension for the race but now has Zaidan as his runner and barrier three ensures no extra penny will be spent.
The four-year-old will be ridden by James McDonald (who scored last start on Xtension at G1 over a mile), after Doleuze had been aboard for the last three outings. Zaidan was fourth to Rulership and prior fourth in the G1 Hong Kong Derby behind Fay Fay with a narrow win before that in the G1 Hong Kong Classic Cup over 1800m. His wins have come up to 1800m but at 2000m he is yet to score.
Waikato with a Timeform weight-adjusted rating of 137 just never knows what 'cannot' means on a big racing stage. He was third equal in the Singapore International Cup last year and fourth the year before, so can he go one or two spots better?
Last start he won for the first time at 2000m and if you are good enough then age is irrelevant. Opie Bosson has picked up the mount, after Joao Moreira, who is now without a Cup mount, opted for Flying Fulton but it had to be withdrawn before acceptances. Ironically, we find Bosson has been aboard Flying Fulton of late.
Always Certain, if they went silly up front, could come with a knockout finish and make if a weekend for trainer Michael Freedman to never forget. The members of his team that have lined up since coming back from a Meydan mission that went pear-shaped have found form again quickly, so Always Certain can do so too.
SIA International Cup
(Weight adjusted Timeform Ratings)
Thumbs Up: 140
City Style: 138
California Memory: 138
Dream Peace : 138
Chinchon : 137