Kick off the new season with Afalonhro
Debut runner-up stands out in weak Maiden event
It's auspicious to start the new Singapore racing season on a winning note and one horse can provide just that tomorrow.
But Kranji racegoers will have to wait until Race 5 when Afalonhro lines up in the Happiness 2020 Stakes over the Polytrack 1,200m for maidens.
Trained by three-time Singapore champion Mark Walker, Afalonhro has made vast improvment since his second placing on his debut on Nov 22.
The four-year-old Australian-bred has been burning up the training track. His sizzling 600m gallop in 34.7sec last Friday morning was superb.
Tomorrow, Afalonhro is meeting what looks like a weak bunch of maidens.
Except for My Money and Glenafton, the rest of his eight rivals have no recent form. My Money ran third last start, while Glenafton was fourth.
But both horses are just ordinary gallopers, while Afalonhro appears to have some future.
In that first-up race on Nov 22, Afalonhro was a trifle unlucky in defeat.
Ridden by 2019 runner-up Benny Woodworth, he had too much catching to do after being beaten for early pace.
He dropped back to second last and had to travel wide all the way in the Open Maiden event over 1,200m on turf.
After straighening up widest, Afalonhro made up ground beautifully once he saw daylight.
But the winner, Perfect, beat him to the post by half a length with a more economical run.
It's debatable whether he could have won if he had a shorter run to the post. It's water under the bridge now.
But, one thing is for sure, Afalonhro has been working with a vengeance. He looks set to go one better. He now has got three-time champion jockey Vlad Duric in the saddle. He is also drawn well in Gate 5.
Back home in Australia, Afalonhro proved consistent but lacked the winning luck. From 10 starts, he was second twice and third five times.
The Group 3 $175,000 New Year Cup over the Poly 1,200m in Race 9 looks like a rematch between Bold Thruster and Skywalk, with the five-time unbeaten Surpass Natural breathing down their necks.
Although Bold Thruster is giving Skywalk 2kg for a neck beating and will start from a very wide draw, he is still the one they have to topple. He looks in peak condition.