Duric serves up an ace on Wimbledon
Kranji barrier trials
With the Australian Open - the first tennis Grand Slam of the year - getting underway on Monday, it's timely to talk about WIMBLEDON.
Well, not so much the All-England club event but Wimbledon the horse.
And, true to our wishes, he served up an ace of a peformance at the trials on Tuesday, winning his with a touch of brilliance.
Ridden by Vlad Duric, he was never on a mission to break any land speed records. Instead, we saw an honest show from an honest brawler.
Jumping from the outermost chute, he didn't waste much time getting to the front and, once he got there, he dictated pace and pattern right to the finish.
Famous Artist, the mount of champion apprentice CC Wong, attempted to make a race of it over the concluding stages but Wimbledon wasn't going to be caught.
The James Peters-trained galloper would win by half a length. A narrow margin, some will say. But he had not run a lung-buster and there was still a lot of horse beneath Duric when they crossed the line.
By his standards, Wimbledon had a quiet 2016, winning just once. But I see more wins coming from this son of Snitzel and, on Tuesday's trial, he's worth an entry into that list of horses to follow.
I also liked the way MAI DARKO went about his business in the sixth trial of the morning.
The four-year-old son of popular sire Darci Brahma may have won his trial in a slow time of 63.19sec but you could not fault his effort.
Fourth early after jumping away cleanly, he was widest of the lot when they made that final turn. With WS Chan calling the shots on Mr Blossom, jockey Rodd on Mai Darko waited until the 250 mark before beginning his run.
In a flash, he was all over the frontrunner and, had Rodd sneaked a peek at the chasing pack when Mai Darko crossed the line, he would have seen what looked like the faithful in a religious procession.
Mai Darko has yet to land a winning blow at Kranji but he has only to carry that trial form into a race and the win should come sooner rather than later.
Finally there was that newcomer WAITAHANUI.
Trained by Laurie Laxon and probably given that name by that same gentleman who, in his day, could a snagged a trout or two from that beautiful waterway in the North Island.
Waitahanui has yet to be seen in a race at Kranji but he showed in the opening trial that he has been well schooled in the ways of the turf and we should see a forward showing from him when he does make his debut.