Trainer Kuah Cheng Tee is under no illusions Per Inpower faces an uphill task in the S$400,000 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) on Friday, but as horses turn three only once and he had a ticket in hand, he thought why not.
And if there were any doubters of Kuah’s ability at spotting three-year-old talents, a quick glance at the Singapore Guineas roll of honour would silence them. Forever Young gave the Singaporean handler his first success in the third and most prestigious Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge at only his second year of training in 2017.
The 43-year-old is the first to recognise Per Inpower is not in the same league as Forever Young. The facts speak for themselves: Five starts and only one win second-up in a Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on Polytrack in September.
Forever Young, who incidentally runs in the S$175,000 Moonbeam Vase (1600m) on Sunday, boasted much more glowing stats before tackling the Guineas – two wins from five starts including a cracking fourth to Lim’s Cruiser in the Lion City Cup (1200m).
Nonetheless, Kuah has seen a modicum of ability in Per Inpower even if he has not rubbed shoulders with the elite ranks yet.
“I always thought he had ability, but probably more over 1400m and 1600m. That’s why I skipped the first Leg (Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1200m won by Bold Thruster on April 5),” said Kuah.
“He put in two good runs in Class 4 company this year – second over 1400m and third over a mile.”
In that last start when Per Inpower ran third to Super Dynasty in a Class 4 race over 1600m on April 21, his rider Joseph Azzopardi was suspended for one month for a charge of foul riding. The Perth jockey has appealed and is riding on a stay.
The part of the race which Stewards took exception to was when the son of Per Incanto improved from the back of the field down the back. They felt the move forced Reddot Rising out off his course.
Kuah will not dwell on that race other than it was still a good prep run towards the Classic, and hopefully for another shot at the Singapore Guineas on May 25. He has booked Tengku Rehaizat for the ride on Friday.
“He’s pulled up in good order. You turn three only once and the owner and I discussed and thought it was worth a shot,” said Kuah.
“Hopefully, he puts in a good run and we can then target the Guineas.” -STC