Four-timer is a Natural
Leticia Dragon's Surpass Natural stays unbeaten after four races
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
We've heard it said many times before.
And, on Sunday at the Kranji racecourse, trainer Leticia Dragon used that one line to sum up just how she felt about the latest superstar in her yard, Surpass Natural.
The four-year-old had just registered his fourth straight win from, yes, just four starts and Dragon was over the moon.
Before sending him out for Sunday's assignment, the yard had sweated over the gear for Surpass Natural.
"We had been thinking about putting the blinkers on, but we went with none in the end. If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Dragon.
And, if you had looked hard, you would have seen a twinkle in her eye.
Dragon had indeed been dithering all week about whether to apply a set of blinkers on Surpass Natural.
She was glad that she didn't.
Said jockey John Powell: "He likes to play the fool at times. We tried the blinkers on in a trial and he went too hard.
"I told Leticia to leave the blinkers out for now, but we'll have to put them on at the right time."
Stepping up in class, the win came six weeks after he had won a Class 4 race over 1,200m.
Promoted to Class 3, there should have been lingering doubts as to whether he was up to the task in that highly competitive division.
But punters knew he wouldn't let them down and, at the off, they had accorded Surpass Natural the greatest compliment a racehorse could get. They backed him down to absolute favouritism and sent him off as the red-hot $6 certainty.
They were not wrong.
Powell, his regular partner, got him away cleanly from a middle alley and was happy to take the seat on the outside of narrow leader, Unconquered (Michael Rodd).
The pair matched motors almost all the way, with Unconquered proving to be no pushover.
However, over the final 150m, the Stephen Gray-trained runner realised that resiatance was futile.
Dragon had done everything right in getting Surpass Natural to the races and he repaid that hard work by romping home 11/4 lengths ahead of Unconquered.
The Alwin Tan-trained rank outsider Robin Hood (Marc Lerner) stayed on for third, a head away.
But it was all about Surpass Natural, who clocked 1min 11.32sec for the Polytrack 1,200m and has accumulated about $130,000 in prize money for Sky Eye Stable.
More than anything, the win brought back memories of another horse, The Hornet.
He, too, was a champ who was trained by Dragon's dad, Douglas.
It was a day short of the fifth anniversary of his death in 2014 that Surpass Natural put together that four-in-a-row.
Somewhere up there, the mild-mannered jockey-turned trainer would have been smiling down on his daughter and saying: "That's my girl."