Arion Star passes test in style
Zac Kasa also impresses at Tuesday's Kranji lone trial
On a quiet Tuesday morning, with only one trial being run, a horse entered for the Merlion Trophy race on Saturday, "warmed up" for that assignment with a fluent gallop over the Polytrack 1,000m.
His name was Arion Star and, it must be said, he looked pretty impressive. Trained by Young Keah Yong for the Arion Stable, he made it look simple.
Scooting away when the gates opened, he quickly established a handy lead.
Chasing him down the back stretch was Footstepsonthecar and Kinabalu Star.
But he quickly made them know who was the boss.
That said, the one who really tested him menacingly was Zac Kasa. The grey had played up behind the gates and had to be loaded riderless.
To make matters worse, he blundered out of the chute and gave the rest a four-length lead on settling. However, his class soon began to tell.
Finding the rails, he was - at the furlong mark - within snorting distance of Arion Star.
But Iskandar Rosman, who steered Arion Star, kept his mount going with hands and heels to eventually score by three parts of a length. He clocked 61.53sec for the trip.
In defeat, Zac Kasa lost no marks. Even after ruining his trial at the get-go, he had finished off the run in grand style.
But accolades to Arion Star.
A four-time winner from 13 Kranji starts, he was having a 1,000m test, which he passed with flying colours.
The test, ordered by the racing stewards, came about after Arion Star returned lame off-hind on Nov 14.
That day, he finished last in the race won by Kharisma. But it was just a blip on his resume.
Arion Star is much better than that. Indeed, it was his first race of the year and there were plenty of excuses.
Tuesday's win came on the heels of another runaway trial showing. On Oct 14, he made his rivals look like second raters when winning in 59.57sec.
Arion Star goes into Saturday's race as one of the roughies. But he seems to be running into a rich vein of form and, if the pieces fall his way, he could give the likes of Kharisma and Grand Koonta a run for their money. On the undercard, pay attention to Footstepsonthecar in that Class 5 staying contest over 2,000m.
Trained by Tan Kah Soon, her third placing in the trial was a result of her doggedness.
With a rating of just 34, she lost no marks - even when beaten out of sight by Arion Star and Zac Kasa, whose rating points are 82 and 81 respectively.
Footstepsonthecar can stay until the cows come home and she could be the one charging home at the concluding stages of that gruelling contest.