Debt Collector in their crosshairs
Chairman's Trophy contenders blaze the training track
It's shaping up to be a cracker of a race. Eleven runners going for glory. The battle lines have been drawn. This Chairman's Trophy on Sunday is going to be one for the ages.
Throughout the week, we've been treated to a preview of sorts. A sneak peak into how the combatants have been coming along. Who's been muscling up. Who's got that spring in their step. Who's sluggish. Who's looking like a million bucks.
It's all been unfolding on the training track and, to put it mildly, it's becoming a mind-boggling exercise.
In the morning light on Tuesday, we saw Countofmontecristo and Alibi go about their business in preparation for the 1,600m show. "The Count" looked good and, coming from the in-form yard of Michael Clements, he must be accorded every bit of respect.
Then, just yesterday morning, the picture became a jigsaw. There was just so much quality on the track, it was hard to separate the urchin from the aristocrat.
Blizzard was there and to many, he was the star of the show. With race jockey Daniel Moor in the saddle, he looked majestic.
In the company of Super Dynasty, he gave his galloping partner a three-length headstart on the main Polytrack but selfishly claimed it back when they reached the top of the straight.
The handsome chestnut went on to whip Super Dynasty by almost six lengths, clocking a time of 34.9sec for the 600m.
He's on a mission. Beaten into third spot by Debt Collector some three weeks ago, he's got him in his crosshairs.
Then there was his stablemate Circuit Land. With Vlad Duric doing the steering, the American-bred looked in tip-top shape when running the distance in 37.3sec. He was paced by Sun General.
Since relocating from Hong Kong, where he was a star, the eight-year-old seems to have found the fountain of youth. He won this race last year in fine style and, at his last start, he was beaten into fourth spot by who else but Debt Collector.
Like Blizzard, who shares his barn at the Lee Freedman spread, Circuit Land will want nothing more than to beat his "conqueror".
What about Elite Invincible? Can he sneak in a punch? Well, he looked the part in his workout, running the 600m in 36.5sec on Track 6. He had Distinctive Darci for company.
Like the rest of the gang, the Mark Walker-trained runner is still licking his wounds from that beating at the hands of, yes, Debt Collector on March 10. He finished fifth in that race, beaten by less than two lengths. He will want revenge.
But, come Sunday, can any of the above beat Singapore's favourite "Ah Long"?
Mind you, since that last victory, Debt Collector hasn't been lazing around. He's been at the trials and yesterday saw him on the training track. With Michael Rodd on the reins, he ran the 600m in 37.3sec.
It was a fine piece of work by the 11-time winner and, as to the answer to that last question well, at weight-for-age it is going to be mighty difficult - though not impossible - to hold out Debt Collector.
Right now, he's the chairman of the board.
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