A fit King Arthur can make amends
With the Singapore Airlines Formula One night race being showcased at the Marina Bay circuit in the centre of the island on Sunday, there will be a speed contest of a different kind taking shape some hours earlier in the north.
It is not as glamorous but, sure as ever, it brings together some souped-up equine marvels.
Some might say, they are among the best currently residing at Kranji and, you can bet, they will give you a run for the money.
So, move over, Red Bull and the “Prancing Horse”. And, for just over a minute, make way for a real speed show on four legs.
It is the $100,000 Kranji Stakes A sprint over 1,200m on grass. While there will not be a shiny trophy for the winner, the event promises to be headline stuff.
So, buckle up and sit tight.
The Formula One races have their “practice” sessions leading into their big moment.
Our horses have their “track work” and, on Tuesday morning, we saw some of them being put through their paces.
King Arthur, probably the favourite on Sunday, ran the 600m in 38.1 seconds.
He had leading apprentice jockey Yusoff Fadzli in the saddle.
Then there was Sky Eye. With Shafrizal Saleh doing the steering, he covered the same trip in a breezy 39.3sec.
If those two appeared to “take their time”, Paletas seemed in a big hurry. He scorched over the 600m trip in 34.7sec. Koh Teck Huat – better known as T.H. Koh – was the man in the saddle.
However, a question mark hangs over the chances of Paletas.
At just 77 rating points, compared to King Arthur’s 101 points, he could be biting off more than he can chew.
That we will leave until Sunday.
For now, make no mistake about it, trainer Jason Lim has his charge ticking over nicely.
Still, we have got to hand it to King Arthur. He looked the part on the training track.
Beaten into fifth spot when installed as the favourite in his last start, you would be right to say he did encounter problems in the race. He had a rough passage. He was held up for some time in the home stretch.
That is racing. Nothing is cast in stone. So, give him another chance.
Already an eight-time winner and a gallant runner-up in the Group 1 Lion City Cup, he has rubbed shoulders with the best.
And this race looks right up his alley.
Trainer Donna Logan, who will enter Sunday’s show leading Tim Fitzsimmons by one winner (50-49), has 14 runners and King Arthur could be her flag bearer.
What about Lim’s Sky Eye?
For one who always seems to be flying under the radar, he is certainly a good horse to have.
Sky Eye knows what the game is all about.
Although he has hopped around the stables – from Leticia Dragon to Jerome Tan (one win) to Kuah Cheng Tee (two) to Lim (three) – the six-year-old is hardly done yet.
He lost no marks when second to Lucky Jinsha at his last start on Sept 17.
He had to race wide for most of the trip. Still, like a good horse, he hung on resolutely for second.
Guess who finished fifth in that same race? King Arthur.
Twice this season, Sky Eye has won on the turf. If he is not shown enough respect, he could be the one powering home over the final stretch – like one of those F1 cars.