Cool Ghalib going places
Two-from-two winner continues to make good progress under new trainer Burridge
It is shaping up to be quite a race. Much like Shanti Pereira’s 200m final on Monday night.
And it is not even a Class 1 or 2 affair. Much like Shanti’s was not the Olympics.
But, boy, that Asian Games sprint did have the nation biting their nails.
The Class 3 race over 1,400m coming up on Saturday will not have you glued to your TV screens but it is shaping up to be a thriller.
On the blocks, Shanti had the Chinese runner, Li Yuting, and Bahrain’s Edidiong Odiong on either side of her.
On Saturday, Ghalib will have January and Luxury Brand rattling the gates.
Will he have the guts and the gumption – like Shanti – to hold them off?
Well, right now, he certainly looks up to the task.
We know that from his workout on Tuesday morning when, with Manoel Nunes on the reins, Ghalib blitzed the training track. He covered the 600m in a swift 36.3sec.
As for January and Luxury Brand, they, too, worked their hearts out.
Marc Lerner piloted January in his romp over the 600m in an easy 42.4, while Yusoff Fadzli had Luxury Brand doing his bidding when running the distance in 40.1.
But the smartest of them all was Ghalib, who is now with trainer Steven Burridge.
Brought up to the mark by the now-retired Michael Clements, Ghalib’s record stands at two from two. And both times he ran away from his rivals.
His win on debut was impressive.
That day, on Aug 13 and under Nunes, he tracked the “rabbit”, Thunder Legend, all the way before hitting the front at the furlong mark to win by 1½ lengths.
Given a four-week breather, he made it two from two with a similar Class 4 success over 1,200m.
However, he was restricted for room 400m to the 250m mark and had to race tight.
But his class shone through when he made light of the awkward situation to beat Knippenberg by almost a length.
Ghalib is one cool galloper going places.
For the first time in his short career, he has to lock horns with Class 3 opposition and the race will be run over the 1,400m.
But, from what we have seen of him, the track and trip should suit this son of I Am Invincible.
Can he take home the gold medal? Shanti did it against a strong field. Ghalib might do so, too.
Well, January and Luxury Brand will have plenty to say about it.
The stablemates from Donna Logan’s yard are both in warrior mode and ready for battle.
January knows what it is like to race in Class 3. He has – you could say – been there and done that.
It was on Aug 13 that he emerged tops in a Class 3 affair. The race was over the 1,200m and, in a fighting finish, January took the honours by beating King Zoustar by a nose.
Last time, on Sept 23, he attempted to steal the race with a breakaway but was found lacking over the 1,200m.
He could be better off in a stalk-and-strike scenario and Saturday’s 1,400m should suit him.
As for Luxury Brand, he has had a fulfilling short career.
Like January, he has raced 13 times for four wins, the last one coming on Aug 27.
That was in Class 4. Promoted to Class 3, he finished ninth in a field of 13 and some 4½ lengths behind the winner City Gold Star.
That was on Sept 23. It has been a short turnaround but, on the strength of his gallop on Tuesday and the fact that he ran third in both the 2023 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1,200m) and the Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1,400m), Luxury Brand must be accorded plenty of respect.
Elsewhere, in the Class 4 Division 1 sprint over the 1,200m on the synthetic surface, trainer Jerome Tan’s pair of Sacred Sky and Lucky Baby served notice of their winning intentions.
In separate gallops, newcomer Sacred Sky (Louis-Philippe Beuzelin) ran out the 600m in 43.5 while Lucky Baby (Wong Chin Chuen) clocked 43.1.
Those times will not win them any prizes but both were not out to break any training records.
With luck, they can provide Tan the quinella.