Elite Excalibur Ready For Derby Test

The Group 1 Singapore Derby is the clear highlight this evening with the Cliff Brown trained Elite Excalibur tipped to come out on top.
Only narrowly beaten in the Group 1 Patron's Bowl [1600m] last start, Elite Excalibur appears set to relish the step up to 1 1⁄4 m and is certainly more than capable on best form.
Formerly trained in Australia [Old Name: River Wild], Elite Excalibur has won five of his 16 starts and arguably should be unbeaten in Singapore (three attempts).
A noted front-runner, it was a surprise to see Elite Excalibur settle so far back in the Patron's Bowl, however it was hard not to like his closing splits.
Adopting a position a pair ahead of Debt Collector at the rear, Elite Excalibur dropped the latter on straightening and really launched late to just miss.
On best form he appears well placed and the engagement of Michael Rodd appears key.
Rodd has ridden Elite Excalibur on four occasions, winning two with his only misses coming in Dubai.
The wide draw is a concern, however hoping they elect to be positive from the outset.
There doesn't appear a great deal of speed engaged and if able to get his own way in front, Elite Excalibur should prove very hard to run down.
The Michael Clements trained Alibireigned supreme in the Group 1 Patron's Bowl and looms as a major threat, though admittedly a query at the trip.
Somewhat under-rated leading into this campaign, Alibi has quickly stamped himself as one of the better horses in Singapore, clinching the first two legs of the 4YO series.
An impressive winner first Alibi went on to finish second behind Lim's Cruiserin the Group 1 Lion City Cup [1200m].
On that occasion, Alibi didn't have a lot of luck and arguably should have finished a lot closer.
In the Group 2 Stewards' Cup [1400m], Alibi enjoyed a far better run in transit, and duly saluted after he gave plenty when cut loose inside the 2 f.
Stepping up to the mile for the first time last start, Alibi travelled sweetly for Glen Boss, settled fourth (one out, one back).
Under a good hold on straightening, Alibi quickly ambled up to the lead, taking over inside the 1 1⁄2 f.
Giving a good kick, Alibi drew clear of his rivals, before digging deep late to hold off the fast finishing Elite Excalibur.
Only lightly raced, Alibi has won seven of his 12 starts, missing the money just once in his career.
In what is just his second preparation, Alibi has clearly made good improvement and is certainly heading the right way.
At each start this time Alibi has raised the bar and returned a new career peak in the Patron's Bowl.
War Affair remains the highest ever rated winner of the Patron's Bowl with Alibi rated alongside past winners Super Easy and Ato.
The first two legs of the 4YO series have produced close finishes, however the Group 1 Singapore Derby [2000m] is another story, with the staying trip adding a new dimension, previously unseen by a number of the main contenders.
Alibi has been very good in winning the first two legs, however can he complete the clean-sweep?
No horse has ever clinched the Triple Crown and on current evidence, Alibi is likely to be vulnerable stepping up to 1 1⁄4 m.
Nonetheless, he is clearly in great form and is sure to make his presence felt.
The Stephen Gray trained Lim's Cruiser has been rock solid in four starts this time in and looms as a major threat.
An impressive winner of the Lion City Cup three starts back, Lim's Cruiser has been building nicely towards the 1 1⁄4 m trip and commands respect with Beasley sticking aboard.
Closing off well to finish a narrow fourth in the Patron's Bowl, he gives the impression he will eat up the extra ground and shapes as one of the hardest to beat.
Of the rest the Alvin Tan trained Infantry appears the next in line.
Much like Lim's Cruiser, Infantry is building nicely this preparation and given his impressive win over 1 1⁄8 m three starts back, he should have no concerns with the step up in trip.
From the middle draw he looks to get all the favours and has to be kept safe with Manoel Nunes sticking aboard.
Enjoy what should be a great race.
Good luck and happy punting.

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