It's thumbs up for Rafaello
Fortune Bowl runner, Blizzard, also impresses at Tuesday's trials
He's six years old and still going strong. That's Rafaello for you. Kind, honest and, I'm sure, a good horse to have in the yard.
Already a winner of 10 races, he seems gung-ho enough for more challenges.
Those who stayed on from trackwork to take in the trials on Tuesday would have been impressed with his effort.
He didn't just beat the rest. He did it in style.
Indeed, all that his jockey Barend Vorster had to do was point him in the right direction.
That was easily accomplished. While Rafaello was always in touch with the leaders, Vorster decided on the scenic route home.
So it was, Rafaello had daylight in front of him when they straightened for the run home.
By then, Nova Vocal was ready to be sacrificed at the altar of pacemaking and, with 150m to travel, he began to give ground.
At the same time, and after looking like he had been snookered in midfield, Blizzard - the mount of Daniel Moor - and Triple Trio decided to make a race of it.
It was all in vain. Scrubbed along by Vorster, Rafaello had flown the coop.
Like a good horse, he cleared away over that final stretch. Indeed, it was under his own steam that he kept going.
And when the winning post loomed, Rafaello had put 41/4 lengths between himself at Triple Trio, who nosed out Blizzard.
But it was all about Rafaello. He had won in a canter and he had run the trip in 60.61sec.
Last time out, in the New Year Cup, the Ricardo Le Grange-trained moneyspinner was the $27 second pick in that 1,200m sprint.
He was shouted the winner 150m out but was swamped by Constant Justice, who got the verdict by a neck.
It was tough luck for his owner - Mr "Rocket Man" himself, Alfredo Crabbia - but Rafaello isn't done yet. So keep him on your radar. In the same trial, Blizzard wasn't disgraced.
For most of the trial, the son of Starcraft seemed packed in with the midfield bunch and it was only at the 250m mark that he had clear running room.
He came home with a flourish and was doing his best work at the finish.
He was already a six-year-old with eight wins in Hong Kong and Japan when he arrived here in June.
Six months later, the Kranji faithful had their first glimpse of this big fella who had, by then, banked in over $3mil in stakemoney.
Carrying the confidence of the grandstand - he went off as the $9 favourite - the weight of expectation took its toll and he finished sixth.
Next stop was the New Year Cup and, while he did not win, there was still plenty to like about the way he charged home after being unsighted when the field straightened.
He made the board, finishing fourth. Following that, he was sent to the trials.
The first one was 10 days ago and he finished a good second behind Countofmontecristo.
Tuesday's gallop would have topped him up sufficiently for his next assignment - the $200,000 Fortune Bowl on Wednesday.
Tuesday's barrier trial results
TRIAL 1 (ORT)
1 Ocean Crossing (D Moor)
2 Hostwin Chevalier (B Woodworth)
3 Gifted Heart (I Azhar)
4 Nate's Honour (M Rodd)
5 Vittoria Perfetta (V Duric)
Margins and time: ½ , ¾, hd, dist (1min 3.39sec)
1 Secret Squirrel
2 King Warrior (G Boss)
3 Caribbean Lady (M Lerner)
4 Centenary Diamond (M Rodd)
5 Libeccio (I Amirul)
6 Super Jackpot (S John)
7 Catch The Tiger (M Kellady)
8 Mystic Pride
9 Cash Is King (B Thompson)
Margins and time: 1 ½, hd, ns, shd, ns, 2½, 2¼, hd (1:03.04)
1 Rafaello (B Vorster)
2 Triple Trio (Duric)
3 Blizzard (D Moor)
4 Nova Strike (S Noh)
5 Nova Vocal (Rodd)
6 Well Deserved (Thompson)
7 Pusaka (Amirul)
Margins and time: 4¼, ns, shd, shd, 1¾, 2¼ (1:00.61)
1 Mettlesome (Boss)
2 The Capital (R Iskandar)
3 Always Innocent (Thompson)
4 Royal Pavilion (Kellady)
5 Little Big Man (Duric)
6 Mo Almighty (Rodd)
7 Astrojet (S Shafrizal)
8 Majulah (N Zyrul)
9 Irving Lipschitz (Moor)
Margins and time: Ns, ns, 1½, hd, 1¾, 1½, 2, 4¾ (1:02.13)
1 Atlantean (Woodworth)
2 Super Ray (Boss)
3 Elite Saint (Rodd)
4 Golden Win (TH Koh)
5 Extra Win (Thompson)
6 Morpheus (Zyrul)
7 Qilin Top Form (John)
8 Cloud SHadow (Noh)
Margins and time: Nk, ¾, ½, 3½, nk, 1½, 1½ (1:01.43)1