Classy Katak in search of Gold
Singapore Gold Cup candidates limber up on training track at Kranji yesterday
Make no mistake about it. He's ready to rumble.
Yes, Katak has been prepared up to the minute and he can't seem to wait for that big occasion on Sunday, when he lines up with Kranji's equine elite in the Singapore Gold Cup.
The first of the Gold Cup candidates to trot out for a spot of work yesterday morning, Katak ran 600m in 37.5sec.
Matthew Kellady was the man in the saddle.
Those at trackside at the break of dawn had to agree that Katak looked like the real thing.
And why not? According to one of his owners, Guy Shirtliff, Katak was sent over from South Africa with the Gold Cup in mind.
That was his target. That was months ago. Now comes the day of reckoning and we reckon he's ready.
Katak is a five-time winner in South Africa, where he captured three Group 3 races over distances of 1,600m, 1,800m and 2,400m.
What it tells us is that the Cup distance of 2,000m wouldn't be a problem.
If anything, it should be right up his alley.
A versatile sort who runs on in his races, Katak put himself right in the Gold Cup picture with the silver medal in the recently run Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
That day, when partnered by Kellady, Katak ran a forward sort of race, holding second until passed by Hard Too Think in the closing stages of that 1,800m classic.
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange has been meticulous in his preparation and he will have Katak looking like a million bucks on Cup day.
But nothing is easy in a race like this. Also out on the training track yesterday morning were other top contenders like Top Knight, Minister and Elite Incredible.
In no particular order, Top Knight, with Louis-Philippe Beuzelin astride, clocked 38.1sec while Elite Incredible was timed at 39.5sec.
A'Isisuhairi Kasim was on board Minister who covered 600m on grass in a swift 36.4sec, in the company of fellow Cup contender Sacred Croix (Rizuan Shafiq).
Always a chance in big races, Top Knight is one of trainer Michael Clements' "Magnificent Seven" for the million-dollar Group 1 event.
Owned by Falcon Racing No. 7 Stable, he went into many notebooks when he came from no-man's land to run second to the brilliant Lim's Lightning in the Raffles Cup over the mile.
However, he finished down the course in the QE II Cup last month. But he has trained on and must be a factor on Sunday.
The same goes for Minister and Elite Incredible. They belong to the big-boys' club and both will have their supporters.
Yes, they have shown us in the past that they cannot be taken lightly in the big ones - and, at Kranji, nothing is bigger than the Singapore Gold Cup.