High flyers call the shots
Silent Is Gold and Hongkong Great in serious mood at barrier trials on Tuesday
With ratings of 103, 88 and 83 points respectively, Hongkong Great, Invincible Tycoon and Silent Is Gold were expected to dominate Tuesday’s second trial.
Well, two of them did.
Silent Is Gold brushed aside Hongkong Great to win in a handy 59.77sec, leaving the rest of the runners wallowing in their wake.
Alas, Invincible Tycoon was not out to follow in their hoofsteps.
He took it easy. Indeed, even with Marc Lerner – fresh from his four-timer on Saturday – doing the navigating, the “Tycoon” just went at a leisurely pace and eventually beat just one home.
For the record, Invincible Tycoon – who is being aimed at the Raffles Cup on Sept 23 – clocked 1min 01.11sec for the 1,000m dash.
Not bad, considering that winning the trial was not on his mind.
Well, Silent Is Gold and Hongkong Great had different ideas.
They went hammer and tongs right from the get-go. Once they had settled down, they were the ones the rest had to beat.
Ridden by Bernardo Pinheiro and jumping from the middle of the line, Hongkong Great pressed forward and, going at a strong gallop, held off the rest.
Silent Is Gold, the mount of Shafrizal Saleh, never allowed the eight-year-old to get too far ahead and, for a while, Ronnie Stewart, on Delilah, also joined in the fray.
Until the field fanned out for the run home, even January (Simon Kok) was never too far adrift.
But once the runners had straightened for that dash to the line, the cream rose to the surface.
Hongkong Great and Silent Is Gold matched strides up that final stretch, leaving the others stranded. It was over the final 50m that Shafrizal managed to squeeze that little extra out of Silent Is Gold.
The winning margin was a neck, with the rest – headed by January – six lengths adrift.
Stephen Gray and Ricardo Le Grange, the trainers of Silent Is Gold and Hongkong Great respectively, would have been happy with the result.
Their charges had done everything right and are prepared for the big races coming up in the next couple of months.
In the first trial, Ace Of Diamonds turned in a stunning gallop, breaking the minute-mark for his run over the 1,000m.
Partnered by Pinheiro, he settled third behind the pace set by Cheerful Baby, the mount of Benny Woodworth, and Supermax, who was ridden by Manoel Nunes.
Asked for an effort at the 300m, Ace Of Diamonds went on to win by over two lengths, clocking 59.90 while eased down.
The son of Swiss Ace is inching towards his first race win. He came close on July 15 when second to Strike Gold in a Restricted Maiden event over 1,200m.
In that same trial, mention must go to the runners who filled the second and third placings – Winning Stride and February.
Both were unsighted for most of the trip and came into the reckoning only over the final 100m.
With Ace Of Diamonds home and hosed, they did real well to take second and third.
Winning Stride was having a 1,000m barrier test, which he passed, while February, who opened his Kranji account two starts back, was having a practice run. They clocked 1:00.26 and 1:00.34 respectively.
The final trial of the morning went to Eruption.
Ridden by Bruno Queiroz and hugging the rail throughout, Eruption held off the challenges from Super Baby (Woodworth) and Lightning Strike (Vlad Duric) to win by a head, clocking 1:00.48 for the 1,000m trip.
A good second to the talented Hasten on his Kranji debut on Aug 20, Eruption will win a race sooner rather than later.