Longhu and Lincoln Road catch the eye
Kranji barrier trials
Trainer Shane Baertschiger created a record of sorts last Thursday when he saddled the winners of all six trials and he kept up his fine run yesterday.
The lanky Australian had a runner in Trial 1 and Trial 2 and both his horses won in spectacular fashion.
While his six winners last week were all ridden by jockey Matthew Kellady, this time his winning duo had jockey John Powell aboard.
The first, three-time winner LONGHU, who was taking the blinkers test, bounced off the block and led on a good hold.
At the 600m mark, he was nearly three lengths ahead of the second horse and, with 200m to go, he was five to six lengths clear. He won by five-and-a-quarter lengths with his head on his chest.
Baertschiger's second winner, LINCOLN ROAD, was even more impressive, clocking nearly a second faster, in 1min 00.49sec for the Polytrack 1,000m, against top horses.
With Nova Strike on his inside, the five-time winner tracked Conflight and hit the front 200m out and stayed on unextended to win by a head.
Lincoln Road and Longhu must be followed next time out.
TRIAL 1 (TEST & PRACTICE)
1. Longhu H (J Powell) blinkers
2. Thankfulness (M Nunes)
3. Eastern Victory (B Woodworth)
4. Lam Edition (CC Wong) starting stall
5. Chips (I Amirul)
6. Lim's Sparkle (D Beasley) stall
7. Keep Spinning (V Duric)
8. King Cross (S Shafrizal) stall
Margins and time: 5¼, 3, ¾, 1, hd, 1, nk (1min 01.46sec)
TRIAL 2 (PRACTICE)
1. Lincoln Road H (Powell)
2. Nova Strike H (Nunes)
3. Rafaello H (N Juglall)
4. Conflight (O Chavez)
5. Lightning Fast (Wong)
6. Mr Luck (Woodworth)
7. Board Walk (B Vorster)
8. Pusaka (WH Kok)
9. Starshine (Duric)
Margins and time: ½, ns, 1¼, 1¾, 1¼, 1½, ns, ½ (1:00.49)
TRIAL 3 (PRACTICE)
1. Ode To Joy H (Vorster)
2. Quicksilver H (Juglall)
3. Rajawali (I Azhar)
4. China Falcon (S John)
5. Sun Dance (Woodworth)
6. Draco (M Rodd)
7. Eaglesham (R Azhar)
8. Sun Empire (Wong)
9. Johnny Hates Jazz (Duric)
Margins and time: ½, 4¼, hd, ½, nk, ½, 13½, 1¼ (1:01.46)
Skywalk kicks off 3YO campaign
Exciting prospect SKYWALK will get his Singapore Three-Year-Old campaign underway with a first 2017 outing in the $80,000 Open Benchmark 74 race over 1,200m in Race 8 tonight.
The China Horse Club-owned Battle Paint three-year-old was a latecomer in last year's Two-Year-Old series.
After an impressive winning debut in an 1,100m race on the Polytrack, he backed up a week later - an erring that his trainer James Peters did later admit in hindsight - in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1,200m on turf and was soundly beaten by Lim's Racer.
He ran a lot better in the Group 3 Juvenile Championship over 1,200m when given more time between runs three weeks later, running on for second to Mystic Master.
After returning stronger following a break, he ran twice, missing out by a whisker first-up but was right on target in his next run.
Peters is happy with the gelding's condition and fitness going into tonight's race after the Christmas break, though a recent trial with blinkers on did not yield the result he was expecting.
"The plan was to sharpen him up a little when he trialled with the blinkers on last week, but it didn't quite work out," said Peters, of Skywalk's trial on Jan 5 when he ran second to newcomer Montaigne.
"We won't be using it this Friday. He's pulled up good after his last run during the Gold Cup weekend, and had a short break over the last couple of weeks and he's come along fine."
Regardless of his run, Skywalk will then be charted towards the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge.
"Obviously, the 3YO series has always been meant to be his main target this year. He will have a couple of runs before the 3YO series kicks off, and that would be the plan with him," said Peters. "He can go further. I will definitely set him for all three legs."