Battle to be top of the class
The 2019 Malaysia 3YO Championship series began on 21 April when the favourite Platinum Life (Mint Lane – Wings Of Alice by Testa Rossa) duly obliged in the first heat in Ipoh.
With already three wins to his name, the Australian gelding was obviously the one to beat then and he did win by half a length from Oscar Eclipse (Swiss Ace – Best French by Air De France) although he had to work for the victory.
Platinum Life has since raced twice in open set-weight events for a fourth and a third, but Oscar Eclipse has remained on the sidelines, so there is a little question mark over the latter’s fitness for the tough task ahead.
Platinum Life won in a Open Maiden event and landed back-to-back double in Class 4 last year. He subsequently finished on board in three consecutive runs in Class 3 and on paper looks the one to beat again in the RM200,000 Malaysia 3YO Championship Final here this Sunday.
King’s Order (Niconoise – Miss Bambay by Danewin), who finished third in the first heat, ran third again in the second heat won by Forsa Eclipse before finishing unplaced in the third heat three weeks ago which was run in heavy rain and on soft track.
Unshadowed General (Master Of Design – Spiritoftheriver by Bel Esprit) ran fourth in the first heat before improving to finish second in the third heat behind Unchained Melody.
The second heat winner Forsa Eclipse is not nominated for this Sunday’s Final but the second-placed Selangor Star (Niagara Causeway – Juncture by El Prado) is worthy of spearheading the qualifiers from that heat held on 19 May in Kuala Lumpur.
Selangor Star had finished second to Forsa Eclipse in a Restricted Maiden event before winning his next outing easily in March before taking part in heat 2.
His unplaced run in the third heat is best ignored as many runners struggled in the heavy rain and soft going that day.
Broke In London (Domesday – Silver Springs by Exceed And Excel) falls into that category as well. The filly made good impression when finishing fourth to Forsa Eclipse in her debut in heat 2.
After his unplaced run in the heat 1, Unchained Melody (Street Boss – Cellist by Stark South) bounced back with a second-place finish in Class 4 before winning heat 3 in Penang on 9 June.
The filly finished on board in two runs in Restricted Maiden before winning easily in a Class 5 – 1300m event in March and is back in form for Sunday’s contest.
One mystery nominee this Sunday is Kante (Postponed – Strengthened by Woodman) who won his debut last December, beating Forsa Eclipse into second place but has not raced since. The gelding was nominated for heat 2 and heat 3 but did not make it to the line-up. It’s uncertain if he will start this Sunday.
But two form horses to watch are Rakama and Gloria Maris.
Rakama (Domesday – Senora Vega by Rock Of Gibraltar) did not take part in any of the heats but showed promise last month when he finished third in his debut, then revelled in heavy going to win a Restricted Maiden event on this track.
Gloria Maris (Dick Turpin – Recoverable by Metal Storm) has just two runs thus far but her recent outing was full of merits.
Slow into stride, the filly had to work her way through the field and just failed to catch the winner Modric by a short head in a Open Maiden event in Penang three weeks ago.
Other runners to follow this Sunday are Purple Rain, Team Winner and Doctor Ginger.
Purple Rain (Toorak Toff – Fighting Flyer by Fastnet Rock) started his career in Malaysia with a second (Initiation race) and a win in Restricted Maiden last year.
Shipped to Singapore, the Australian gelding had a third and a second in Kranji Stakes D events earlier this year but is now back in Malaysia with his original trainer Wong Kong Fatt.
Team Winner (Husson – Romona Miss by Reset) had a win and two placings in three starts last year and his success was noteworthy as it was achieved in a weight-for-age Novice race against older horses last October.
Team Winner has yet to reproduce that sort of form in all three heats of the 3YO Championship this year but his recent two runs were fair effort.
Doctor Ginger (Gingerbread Man – Empower Me by Canny Lad) was unplaced in heat 1 but in four other starts, he was placed thrice, most recent being a third in an Open Maiden event three weeks ago.
The 2019 Malaysia 3YO Championship Final is shaping up to be a thrilling contest. A star, and may be more, could emerge out of this battle of three-year-olds.