Astrostar and Red Claw shine
Kranji barrier trials
If you look at his record, you would brush him aside.
His last win - his fifth - was in September 2014 and he has since gone through 16 losing runs.
But, from the way he won his trial yesterday in the fastest time of the morning, dipping below one minute for the Polytrack 1,000m, you would sit up and say "wow, who's that?"
Well, ASTROSTAR certainly caught the eye with his sparkling display that suggests he could spring a surprise in his next race, especially now that his rating has dropped from a high of 83 to 71.
Ridden by jockey Manoel Nunes, the Michael Clements-trained six-year-old led and was a length in front of Warpath, who was kept on a tight hold, and Mark Eclipse racing past the 600m mark.
Although Warpath and then debut winner The Capital put pressure on him in the final 200m, Astrostar went to the post with plenty of oomph.
The most surprising part was his time. It didn't look that quick but he stopped the clock at 59.87sec and looked very much racing with a new lease of life.
It is worthwhile to monitor his progress from here and, if he lights up the sparkler again, get ready to have a flutter on him. The odds will be good, given his current race form.
Overall, Astrostar has had 28 starts for five wins and five seconds, all on the Polytrack, so that tells a story.
His latest run was on Jan 30 and he ran last of 12 runners in an Open Benchmark 83 event over the Poly 1,100m.
Trainer Daniel Meagher's RED CLAW was also impressive when taking the following trial yesterday morning.
His winning time of 1min 01.04sec was just average but the way he crossed the line was beautiful.
Ridden by Olivier Placais, the five-year-old Australian-bred disputed the lead with King Kong but he was very much kept on a tight hold. He went on to win by a head but it could have been a wider margin had Placais released the brakes. Iron Man flew home to beat King Kong by a similar margin for second.
Red Claw made his debut on March 5 after winning his trial. He received some support ($31 for a win) and beat all but The Capital. It's never easy winning first-up over 1,200m on the Polytrack and to finish second was very good indeed.
With the improvement shown, he can score second-up.