Laxon launches twin bid for Singapore Derby

New Zealander Laurie Laxon holds the key to the G1 Singapore Derby on Sunday with Better Than Ever (French Deputy) and Martial Art (Tiger Hill).

Laxon won the Singapore Derby in 2004 with NZ bred Dreyfuss (Oregon) and in 2008 with Top Spin (Arena).

Better Than Ever has not been at his brilliant best since returning from Dubai and his experienced trainer is hoping the use of blinkers will make the difference.  “It has been a successful ploy over the years,” Laxon claimed.  “I’ve certainly had a lot of success adding them.

“I remember Champagne winning the Mackinnon Stakes in blinkers and then running second in the Melbourne Cup.  They were the only two times she wore them.

“Better Than Ever trialled well in the blinkers last week and hopefully he’s back to his old self.  His work on Wednesday was very strong and he looks ready to run a good race.

“You have to remember he won the G1 Raffles Cup (1800m) last year and, on his latest work, we have got him back to his top.”

Laxon will also saddle the Peter and Philip Vela bred Martial Art (Tiger Hill) who has been an enigma since arriving in Singapore.  “He returned to form with a solid victory over 2000m two starts back and was close up behind Golden Number (Jeune) in the Phenom Stakes last time.

“Martial Art will get the perfect run from barrier 3.  He needs it wet while Better Than Ever needs it fine.”

Other New Zealand bred interests include in the Singapore Derby include the Mark Walker trained stablemates Mecca Star (Zabeel) and Flying Fulton (Flying Spur).  The Tan Hor Khoon trained Fatkid (Handsome Ransom) is anther (NZ) bred candidate but he has drawn very wide.