Do not rule out Leatherhead
Boomba and Wealth Elite also impress and are worth following in their next assignments
Keep your options open when you are mapping out your betting strategy for that interesting Kranji Stakes A race over the gruelling 2,000m on Saturday.
Katak, Hard To Think and Top Knight leap from the page – and rightly so.
They are the big names and the bigwigs in the $100,000 contest.
They have, collectively, won big races and collected big purses for their connections. They are, well, super horses to have in the yard.
But they are paying the price for being the higher-rated contenders.
Under the Kranji Stakes A race conditions, the three big shots will be giving weight to all others.
And, to a horse like Leatherhead, it will be like Christmas has come early.
Yes, come Saturday, do not turn your nose up or look down on the lesser lights – like Leatherhead.
He gets into the race with just 50.5kg, while Katak will have to hump a punishing 58kg.
And there is no need to tell you that the trip is as punishing as races come.
In this game, we are often reminded that weight can stop a train – even as express as the topweight and horses like Hard To Think (56.5kg) and, maybe even, Minister (55kg).
So have respect for some of the lightly weighted runners.
Leatherhead is just one of them.
We now know he is running into a rich vein of form. It was evident when he turned in a good showing at the trials on Tuesday morning.
Ridden by Jake Bayliss, who has been his regular partner since April, horse and rider saved the best for last.
They closed in from fourth spot when the field straightened to run home a strong second to Gold Star.
And, mind you, that was over the flying Polytrack 1,000m.
In the trial – which was the last of three that were run that day – Bayliss parked Leatherhead in midfield and widest of the eight runners.
Avoiding the congestion up front, he took the scenic route home.
Gold Star (Wong Chin Chuen), Sacred Rebel (Akmazani Mazuki) and King Arthur (Jerlyn Seow) seemed to be travelling well.
But, when push came to shove, the momentum was with Leatherhead. He powered home, failing by just half a length to nail the highly rated Gold Star (96 points).
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange would have been pleased. He will be launching a three-pronged attack in the race. Katak is one of them, the other being Pennywise, and Leatherhead could be the dark horse in the line-up.
In the second trial, the Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Boomba breezed through his starting stall test with flying colours.
Ridden by Bernardo Pinheiro, he cleared the chute like he was being chased by the hounds from hell.
His objective achieved, Boomba relaxed and had a good stretch-out, eventually taking third behind Wealth Elite and Den Of Thieves.
Prepared by Steven Burridge, Wealth Elite had Simon Kok doing the steering when scoring by a comfortable length.
A four-time winner with excess of $120,000 in the bank, Wealth Elite has been winless since last September.
Then again, and in fairness, Burridge has been picky and patient with his five-year-old.
Wealth Elite has raced only once this season. That was on June 18 and he finished ninth – some six lengths behind the winner, Proof Perfect.
As they say, he might not be heading to Hollywood any time soon.
But, who knows? He just might be a surprise package the next time he heads to the races.
Tuesday’s Kranji barrier trial results:
1 Classic Thirtysix
2 Knight Command (B. Pinheiro)
3 Coffee King (C.C. Wong)
4 Crown Dancing
Margins and time:
Hd, 3/4, 11/2
(1 min 02.70 sec)
1 Wealth Elite (W.H. Kok)
2 Den Of Thieves (J. Bayliss)
3 Boomba (Pinheiro)
4 Split Second (K. A’Isisuhairi)
5 Sacred Judgement (Wong)
6 Sacred Piece (M. Akmazani)
Margins and time:
1, 11/4, 1/2, 1/2, 11/4 (1:01.96)
1 Gold Star (Wong)
2 Leatherhead (Bayliss)
3 King Arthur (P.H. Seow)
4 Sacred Rebel (Akmazani)
5 Gold Strike (M. Lerner)
6 Cheval Blanc (A’Isisuhairi)
Margins and time:
1/2, 33/4, 11/4, hd, 53/4 (1:01.90)