Last Supper ready for comeback
Smashing debut winner returns – with new gear, jockey, owner
After Last Supper’s thumping debut win in August, many could not wait to see him race again.
Though still as green as grass, the three-year-old won the Restricted Maiden race (1,200m) on raw ability, with Vlad Duric even afforded the luxury of easing him down close home.
James Peters does not run a stable of stars, but for once, the English trainer seems to have found something out of the box.
However, the son of Grunt has come out of his box only for light work since.
Peters had actually backed him off deliberately, worried about burnout, especially for such a young horse with a lot of upsides.
“He’s had quite a long prep leading to his first run. He was a bit light off his first race,” he said.
“So, we brought him back and he looks better now, he’s filled out a bit.”
The increased workload, the bouncy strides and the dappled-up coat were the unmistakable signs that a comeback was near.
A win in his second barrier trial on Nov 16 topped him off nicely, but the enhanced physical condition was not the only noticeable change.
Manoel Nunes was the new partner on board while Duric rode the Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Foxship, who finished fifth in that trial.
The Rommel five-year-old also disappeared after a victorious launch on Nov 13, 2022, which makes him even more ring-rusty.
While Last Supper had no gear when he raced, he donned a crossover noseband and earmuffs in the trial.
“He was overracing. We wanted to teach him to relax,” said Peters.
“He was racing a bit upside down and not finishing off earlier on. He was going at 100 miles per hour.
“So, we played around with his gear. This morning, he was steady and he relaxed quite well with the crossover noseband and the earmuffs.
“He will wear the crossover noseband at his next start.”
Last but not least, Last Supper has also changed hands. Peters, who used to be the registered owner as well, has sold him to the Yu Long Stable, which happens to be the farm that stands Grunt.
Parting with such an exciting find might surprise a few. But, with only 11 months left until Kranji closes shop for good, a lot of the decision-making process these days revolves around horses’ longevity and welfare beyond Oct 5, 2024.
But, even if Last Supper has swopped colours from Peters’ claret and blue of his favourite West Ham football team to Yu Long’s green and white checks, Peters will still be part of Team Last Supper – right until the end.
“I’m staying on next year – until the last day,” said Peters, who first came to Singapore as Michael Freedman’s track rider in 2010.
Down to only 29 horses, Peters was luckily able to inject some new blood before the closure announcement was made on June 5.
He had eight two-year-olds, joined by Bintang Sixty-One from Fitzsimmons later, but Last Supper is clearly the standout. It would have been a shame if he lost him.
After all, he was the one who handpicked the horse at the 2022 Inglis Ready2Race Sale for A$62,500 (S$54,900).
Peters said Yu Long came knocking on his door straight after the smashing introduction on Aug 20.
“Shortly after his win, Yu Long made an offer. They stand the stallion Grunt, I suppose there is a connection there,” he said.
“But I’ll still train him, which is great. He’ll stay with me, but I guess he will eventually go overseas when racing ends next year.”
The Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge shapes up as a legitimate target in 2024, but he has to go through that “open company” rite of passage first.
“We’ll see how he pulls up. We may run him in a Class 4 over 1,200m next week,” said Peters.
“He’s definitely come back more mature. He’s a horse with a bit of a future.”