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Bestseller is still top-shelf material

Trial win done and dusted, now Le Grange’s charge dreams ahead as next chapter looms

Like a good book which everyone wants to read, Bestseller is a galloper who could find his way to the top shelf in the big races coming up.

It is a pity that he has only a small window – a little over four months until Oct 5, when Kranji stages its last meeting – to show us what he is really worth.

But, from what we have seen and read of him over 18 race starts, the storyline is positive.

While he is not mentioned in the same breath as Lim’s Kosciuszko or even Golden Monkey, we know that he is going places.

Toss aside that no-show on Feb 11, when he finished down the course in the Fortune Bowl.

The Ricardo Le Grange-trained galloper’s last six runs make for really good reading.

He won on Oct 7, made it two on the trot on Nov 11, sealed his hat-trick on Dec 2, then got blown away on Feb 11.

The four-year-old Australian-bred gelding won again on March 9, taking out the Group 3 Committee’s Prize (1,600m), before finishing fourth in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1,400m) on April 21.

And the son of Dream Ahead has shown all is well with him as he took out a trial in commanding fashion on May 28.

At 90 points, he was the highest-rated galloper in that field of six and, when he took control of things at the 250m, he looked menacing – like a charged-up battleship racing through a flotilla of weekend yachts.

He had earlier sat in third spot and widest of the lot.

So easy to spot, with that white blaze splashed down his proud head, we watched him stalk his rivals like a lion would his prey.

Up in the saddle, and with the lead safely tucked away at the furlong mark, Brazilian jockey Bernardo Pinheiro knew he had the wind in his sails and allowed Bestseller to cruise to the line on his own steam.

When the damage was done, Bestseller had won the trial with a length to spare and in a modest time of 1min 01.37sec.

After all, it was a good showing. Or a good read, you might say.

The script for the next chapter is no best-kept secret. It is the first four-year-old feature, the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1,400m) on June 9.

Like a good trilogy, the plot would be incomplete without the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) on June 30 and the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1,800m) on July 21.

As for the beaten brigade in the trial – and they were not at all disgraced – mention must go to the runner-up Lucky Goal.

With champion jockey Manoel Nunes’ feet planted firmly in the irons, the three-year-old was doing his best work late – after having to travel in the slipstream of the leading duo of He’s My Halo and Fire until they had fanned out for the run to the line.

Given rein at the 250m, the son of Shalaa was pointed towards daylight, and seemed to enjoy the freedom.

He opened up in style and, while he was never going to catch Bestseller, he did put 1½ lengths between himself and third-placed Show All Sixty-One, the mount of Australian Daniel Moor.

Lucky Goal has been knocking on the door and one wonders how it has not yet opened for him.

In five races at Kranji, he finished second twice.

Both were solid showings and that elusive win should come sooner rather than later.

As for newcomer He’s My Halo, he was having an Official Race Trial (ORT) and got a passing mark from the racing stewards.

It was not unexpected. After all, it was his ninth time at the trials.

He had three in 2023 when he was with Stephen Crutchley and that hit-out on May 28 was his second while under the care of James Peters.

Unlike Bestseller, He’s My Halo is not going to Hollywood any time soon but his education has been solid and we might see something special from him on debut – whenever that may be.

brian@sph.com.sg

HORSE RACING