Ex-pat Australian Shane Baertschiger is having a hot season, sharing the lead in the Singapore premiership on 48 wins with Lee Freedman.
Baertschiger enjoyed one of his best weekends last Easter when last year’s juvenile champion Be Bee won the $250,000 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint before Aramco bagged the $200,000 Group III Rocket Man Sprint.
Baertschiger, who took over in Singapore on the retirement of his father Don, began his career as stable supervisor at Bukit Time in 1996. He was granted his assistant trainer’s licence in 1999, just before the move to Kranji.
Baertschiger played a key part in the stable’s long list of big race winners including 2008 Lion City Cup winner Capablanca.
In 2013 in just the second year out on his own, he landed the Kranji Sprint with El Milagro.
Baertschiger finished third on the premiership last season behind Michael Walker, saddling 61 winners.
He has six horses in work for Lincoln Farms.
Bruce Marsh became a household name in New Zealand when he rode Silver Knight to win the 1971 Melbourne Cup.
And in the intervening years Marsh has carved out an exceptional career as a trainer.
He trained 522 winners in New Zealand between 1988 and 2005, including Group I wins with the likes of 2000 New Zealand Derby winner Hail.
And it took no time at all for Marsh to make his mark when relocating to Singapore in 2005 when he won the Singapore Derby with 142-to-one outsider Hello And Goodbye.
Marsh landed the derby again five years later with Race Ahead and in 2011 Gingerbread Man provided him with another career highlight when he made a clean sweep of the three legs of the Three-Year-Old Challenge.
Marsh has four horses in training for Lincoln Farms after the recent retirements of Lucky Lincoln and Lincoln Fame.
But Marsh, 68, has put his own retirement plans on hold.
“I enjoy it up here and I’m staying on for another year. It’s a fantastic place to train. The facilities are great and the money’s very good. You can’t make money in New Zealand like you can here.’’
But Marsh, who has 50 boxes, says since his team was hit by a virus two years ago, his numbers have dwindled to just 27.
Stephen Gray, son of respected Kiwi trainer Kevin Gray, moved to Singapore in 2000 and quickly climbed through the grades to be among the most successful trainers at Kranji.
Gray, 54, finished eighth on the premiership last year with 46 wins and sixth in 2016 with 53 wins.
One of Gray’s best moments in Singapore came when over one weekend he bagged the 2017 Singapore Gold Cup with Bahana and the Group II Barker Trophy with Lim’s Cruiser.
His earlier scalps included the 2007 Singapore Derby with Lim’s Prestige, 2001 Kranji Sprint with St Kentigern and 2003 Patron’s Bowl with Lim’s Reward.
Gray, who has trained 25 winners so far this season, has four horses in training for Lincoln Farms at his Copper Belt stables.
Our runners this week
Friday night at Kranji
Sunday at Kranji
News in brief
STREET UNLUCKY: Pratt Street was dead unlucky not to win at Kranji last night. Rider Craig Grylls was badly held up in behind the leaders down the stretch and flashed late on the rails when finally clear, pipped a nose and a short head.
ACE UP SLEEVE: Ace’s Wild will have one more trial before he resumes. The Swiss Ace three-year-old trailed the field home in his first trial back but trainer Shane Baertschiger says he was given only an easy gallop. “He’s never shown much in trackwork or trials but raceday he’s different. Both his runs as a two-year-old were quite encouraging - he was running on strongly from back in the field.”
CITY IMPROVES: Lincoln City ran an improved race for trainer Shane Baertschiger when sixth at Kranji last Friday night appreciating his first run on the grass.
NOISE FOR SILENT: Punters who followed our advice from Shane Baertschiger that Silent Prince would be suited by the trip and likely tempo at Kranji last Sunday were rewarded with a $6.80 place dividend when he closed late for third. Silent Prince will be tried next over 1800 metres in three weeks.
NOT SO LUCKY: Lucky Enough’s debut for Lincoln Farms was less than auspicious. Trainer Stephen Gray warned the gelding lacked ringcraft and was only there for experience and he was right - he jumped awkwardly and bumped a rival at the start then raced greenly throughout. The horse ran last and afterwards was showing signs of respiratory distress and was ordered to trial and be vet checked before next racing.