Bel Esprit has been the success story of Singapore racing in 2009 with Mooring capturing the rich Singapore 3YO Challenge-G3 in June (his fourth win in Singapore), 6-time winner Perfect Sky (who won the Kranji Stakes in mid November), multiple winner Hybrids and Bel’s Ringer just some of the ex-pats to fly the flag in the region.
As a consequence, Bel Esprit has shot to the head of the Singapore sire charts and it’s little wonder Victoria’s Champion Sire is the darling of Singapore’s owners and trainers.
Certainly the track record performance of Diplomatic Strike at Kranji last night has only added to Bel Esprit’s reputation.
After having no luck at his Singapore debut on 18 November, Diplomatic Strike was all business this time around with his Eliza Park owner, Lee Fleming, on hand to catch all the action. Singapore Turf Club’s Craig Brennan takes up the story.
Former Melbourne galloper Diplomatic Strike equalled the 1100m course record when successful in the S$75,000 Class 3 Stakes at Kranji (tonight).
Tracking the speed throughout, Diplomatic Strike scored by a 1.25 lengths over Bionic Boy with Lucky Wish 0.5 lengths away third.
Diplomatic Strike was formerly prepared by Mick Price in Melbourne and is the first horse to race for Eliza Park in Singapore.
Eliza Park’s Asian representative Lyle Plumb said Diplomatic Strike, in the care of trainer Stephen Gray, was one galloper specifically picked to come up and race under the Eliza Park banner.
Also on hand was Eliza Park principal Lee Fleming.
“He was going to be sold but then we thought it would be a good idea to send him up and race ourselves,” said Plumb.
“He’s the first horse to race for us up here and Stephen thought he had a real good chance tonight.
“And that’s why Lee has come up here to be a part of the success tonight.”
Diplomatic Strike was sent to Singapore in May, but Gray took his time with the 5YO, allowing him to acclimatise.
“At his first start here he drew off the track and was wide throughout before knocking up late,” said Plumb.
“With that run under his belt and a little more work, Stephen was confident he would run well.”
Diplomatic Strike had won two of his eight starts in Melbourne and around A$42,000 in prizemoney and tonight’s victory added around S$37,000 to his stakes.
Diplomatic Strike is by Bel Esprit from the Straight Strike mare Mill Lady.
Bel Esprit flyer, Diplomatic Strike, equals the track record at Kranji last night. Photo courtesy of Singapore Turf Club.