Saimee impressed by Emperor's hit-out

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 12:00am

Singapore champion Ninetyfive Emperor proved conclusively he's in Hong Kong for serious business with possibly the sharpest piece of work turned in by any international visitor this week. The rangy chestnut was handled by race rider Saimee Jumaat, who flew in from Singapore especially for the gallop and came away impressed.

Ninetyfive Emperor, winner of 11 of his 13 starts and only half a length of an unbeaten record - went 1,200 metres out of the starting stalls and raised some eyebrows with a power-packed workout.

The Australian-bred gelding ran the journey from a standing start in 1:10.8, the first 600m in 34.5 seconds and the final 400 metres in 23.6. Saimee allowed Ninetyfive Emperor to coast up the final 200 in a leisurely 12.55, content he had done his job.

Saimee, five times champion jockey of Singapore, explained that Ninetyfive Emperor had given concern in two Kranji gallops in the right-handed direction last week.

'In both of those, he was on his wrong leg and wasn't tracking truly,' Saimee said. 'That was why Charles [trainer Charles Leck] wanted him to go into the turn at the 900 metres at close to racing speed, to give him a thorough test.

'I was very pleased with him. He has learned to lead on the other leg on the circle, but when I gave him a backhander at the top of the straight, he switched legs and quickened nicely.'

Ninetyfive Emperor, a son of champion speed sire Rory's Jester, arrived in Hong Kong last Friday and has been under the supervision of Singapore's leading female rider, Crystal Ang, who is apprenticed to Leck.

Saimee noticed the improvement in Ninetyfive Emperor's condition since he left Singapore. 'He must really like Hong Kong because I thought he looked great this morning - definitely better than when I last saw him [December 4] at Kranji,' the jockey added. Sceptics may query Ninetyfive Emperor having such a hard trial only five days out from the Hong Kong Mile, but Leck has a magnificent feature-race record in his homeland and regularly uses such trials to bring his charges to peak condition for the big occasions.