New king on show after coronation
Elite Invincible brings class into Tuesday's trials
The mood would have been upbeat on Monday evening with plenty of back-slapping, fist pumping and cheers ringing out in the Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott South Beach.
The occasion was the Racing Appreciation Night and that was where the equine set had gathered to honour the best in their profession.
But far north at Kranji, amidst sawdust, bandages and feed buckets, it was just another night for the newly crowned Horse Of The Year, Elite Invincible.
He would have been in his stall, knowing, hours later, on the morning after his coronation, he would have to be back on the track where he was scheduled to run in a trial.
It was, well, turning out to be just another day in the life of a racehorse ... champ or not.
As it turned out, the trial was befitting his status. There were some classy numbers in the line-up. Mr Clint who, just on Monday night took the honours for Best Three-Year-old of 2018 was there. Also in the line-up was multiple winner Countofmontecristo, and we all know just how good he is.
Standing with them was Blizzard, a seven-year-old former Hong Kong-based star galloper - but certainly one to watch. And tossed into that mix was that fleet-footed mare from Lee Freedman's yard, Turf Princess.
Elite Invincible, ridden by Benny Woodworth, had drawn gate 2 and, while he jumped with the rest, he was quickly snared back and kept out of the speed battle up front.
Blizzard, ridden by Daniel Moor, and Turf Princess, the mount of Ben Thompson, set a fast tempo at the head of the pack. Then came Glen Boss on Countofmontecristo and the ever-reliable Mr Clint.
That was the order when they negotiated the 600m mark. Where was the Horse Of The Year?
Well, he was content to stay fifth of seven.
Into the stretch and Boss took "The Count" to the front. Blizzard stuck with him like a good horse while Turf Princess began to give ground. As for Elite Invincible, Woodworth had peeled him to the outside where he seemed ready to fashion a run.
For a while, it brought him close to the lead - but he never looked like he was hungry for a win.
The momentum was with "The Count", who went on to beat Blizzard by a length and a quarter. As for Elite Invincible, he seemed perfectly happy to take third, another length in arrears.
For the time being and for all three, the work had been done. Countofmontecristo had equipped himself well, running the 1,000m trip in 60.96sec and Blizzard went into many notebooks as a horse to follow.
As for the 2018 Horse Of The Year, he had a great gallop under his girth and trainer Mark Walker woud have been a happy and relieved man, knowing that his champ was fit and well, and ready to fight another day.