Ejaz takes one step forward
Split Second, who finishes third in second trial, also looks primed for Sunday’s 2,000m event
Like he did on debut, Ejaz produced a devastating turn of hoof to win his trial at Kranji yesterday morning.
It was a show worth taking note of. It told us that a win could be on the way sooner rather than later.
Back to that trial which was delayed by rain, the field was reduced to just three runners.
But, like they say, sometimes less is best.
Jumping from Gate 2, Ejaz dawdled out at the “off” and, when the field had cleared the first furlong, he was – quite literally – out of the picture.
Ten lengths in arrears, it looked like a two-horse affair between frontrunners Pure Perfection – the mount of Ronnie Stewart – and Hurricane, who had Vlad Duric in the saddle.
With 600m left to travel in that 1,000m sprint, Ejaz was still hopelessly last.
But, as Pure Perfection and Hurricane traded blows in front, jockey Marc Lerner got to work on the fine-looking chestnut.
Peeled out to the middle of the track, the Frenchman fashioned a run and Ejaz was game.
Taking the bit, he went after the leaders.
It did not take him long to get within clobbering distance and, when Lerner stepped on the gas, Ejaz just ran away with the trial.
There was nothing his two rivals could do.
Suddenly, from looking dead and buried at the 600m mark, Ejaz was home and hosed.
Two lengths was his winning margin. It could have been 20.
His time for the Poly 1,000m was just a decent 60.68sec, but the manner in which he won the heat was outstanding.
It was Ejaz’s second win at the trials. The first was on July 14. That day, he did it differently.
With jockey A’Isisuhairi Kasim doing the navigating, Ejaz made every post a winning one, eventually beating the Donna Logan-trained Luxury Brand by almost a length.
Ten days later, his trainer, Michael Clements, sent him to the races.
Serious trial-watchers would have remembered that showing over the Poly 1,000m and they sent him off as the $12 favourite.
Somehow, Ejaz seemed to lack that early speed.
Like what we saw at the trials yesterday, he gave his rivals a big headstart.
He attempted to claw back the deficit, but it was asking for too much.
Ejaz could run home only third, beaten by the Logan-trained pair of Fadaboy and Luxury Brand.
We know that Ejaz is better than that.
It will not be long before the Al-Arabiya connections will be celebrating a first win on their $80,000 purchase.
Also at the trials, Split Second would have given his camp added reason to look forward to at Sunday’s meeting.
Split Second ran third in the second and last trial of the morning, beaten by Cizen Lucky and Born To Win.
In that five-horse hit-out, A’Isisuhairi had him sitting second from last all the way down the back stretch.
All the while, Red Roar (Tengku Rehaizat) and Cizen Lucky (apprentice jockey Akmazani Mazuki) were going at it hammer and tongs.
Split Second stayed out of the fray and only came into the picture late.
By then, the trial was done and dusted. But it must be noted that Split Second was doing his best work late.
If anything, that showing would have topped him up sufficiently for Sunday’s assignment.
It is a 2,000m race that trainer Steven Burridge has plotted for his charge and it is right up his alley.
Yesterday’s barrier trial results:
1 Ejaz (M. Lerner)
2 Hurricane (V. Duric)
3 Pure Perfection (R. Stewart)
Margins and time:
2, 4 1/4 (1 min 00.68 sec)
1 Cizen Lucky (M. Akmazani)
2 Born To Win (J. Bayliss)
3 Split Second (K. A’Isisuhairi)
4 Lim’s Shot
5 Red Roar (T. Rehaizat)
Margins and time:
3 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 5 1/2 (1:00.87)