Grylls chasing offshore prizes this weekend

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  • May 29, 2023
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Craig Grylls is enjoying his best domestic season ever in the saddle and has taken time out this weekend for a whistle-stop overseas tour of duty.

The 33-year-old, who currently sits in second spot on the New Zealand Jockeys’ Premiership with a personal best tally of 106 winners, will ride in Singapore on Saturday night and in Malaysia the following day.

Grylls was principally lured offshore to partner the Stephen Gray-trained and Falcon Racing Stable-owned February in the S$150,000 Singapore Guineas (1600m) at Kranji.

On the undercard, he has also been booked for the Donna Logan-prepared stablemates Entertainer in the S$70,000 Gingerbread Man Stakes (1200m) and Te Akau Ben in the S$50,000 Affleck Stakes (1400m).

Entertainer has won eight races and finished sixth at his most recent appearance while Te Akau Ben, a son of Tavistock, broke his maiden two runs back before an unplaced effort last time out.

“I got here on Thursday and have also been asked to go to Malaysia to ride in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, I’ve got four rides there,” Grylls said.

“Falcon Racing approached me about the Guineas ride and said would you like to come up and I then spoke to Donna and she had a couple of rides for me.

“The same owners (Falcon) have a runner in the Cup in KL so I’ll fly up there after Singapore, it’s pretty cool.”

Grylls will be back in familiar territory at Kranji having ridden 44 winners there during stints in 2017 and 2018.

Sacred Falls’ son February earned his Guineas berth with a last-start maiden success at his fifth appearance.

He was purchased out of Riverrock Farm’s draft at new Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale by Gray and bloodstock agent Bevan Smith for $130,000 and is a grandson of the Gr.1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) winner Piavonic.

Grylls’ main ride on Sunday is the in-form French import Sincerely in the Selangor Gold Cup (1600m).

A Listed winner over 1600m in his homeland before two victories in Singapore from Michael Clements’ stable, he is now prepared by expatriate Australian Richard Lines and was a last-start winner over 1200m.

Grylls has enjoyed a memorable season and in the spring emulated the feat of his father Gary when he posted his 1000th career win with victory aboard Mustang Valley at Hastings.

He also took his Group One tally to 14 with success in the Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) on La Crique and in the Sistema Stakes (1200m) with Ulanova, who was promoted from second after winner Tokyo Tycoon was disqualified after returning a positive post-race result to meloxicam.

“It’s been a great season for me and I’ll be back home on Tuesday,” Grylls said.

“If the horse (February) goes well in the Singapore Guineas and goes to the Derby (S$400,000, 1800m) I’d like to hopefully go back up there and ride him, but we’ll see what happens. I’d like to get to Brisbane as well, if I can.”

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