Sahabat is one to follow
Clements' impressive trial winner will have lots of friends at Kranji tomorrow
The sparingly raced Sahabat looks ready to make a triumphant return at Kranji tomorrow.
The speedy Michael Clements-trained and PSM Racing Stable-owned four-year-old should hold his own in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 event over the Polytrack 1,100m in Race 3 ( 1pm).
The biggest pointer to his chances is his barrier-trial victory last week. There is a lot to like about the horse whose name means good friend in Malay.
The bay Australian-bred not only won it in under one minute - 59.65sec - for the Poly 1,000m, but also look at who finished behind him.
Makkem Lad, a top Class 1 sprinter, ran third, less than a length away and Singapore Derby-Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner Hard Too Think was fourth, albeit further back.
Makkem Lad, an eight-time winner, franked the form last Sunday by finishing a narrow second to Kharisma in a Class 1 race over 1,200m.
Hard Too Think beat all but Kranji's highest-rated galloper Lim's Lightning in the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m.
True, both Makkem Lad and Hard Too Think were not out to break any records, but that trial form spoke volumes of Sahabat's chances.
After all, he will be meeting only Class 4 rivals.
If he has come back from his five-month break sound as a bell, he will take a lot of beating.
Let's go through his Kranji campaign.
He showed promise first-up on Nov 7 last year. The $18 favourite, he led from a wide barrier before fading close home to finish third to River Brilliance in a Poly 1,000m dash.
He then flopped second-up five weeks later as the $11 favourite. He finished sixth after going with the pace over 1,200m on turf.
A 41/2-month spell followed. Again, he disappointed by finishing seventh after leading over the Poly 1,100m.
All three runs were in Restricted Maiden events.
Sent down to Class 5 on May 29 last year, he whitewashed his rivals.
He won the Poly 1,100m event by 31/2 lengths in a smart 1min 04.80spec.
Against a strong Novice lot a month later, he again showed his rivals a clean pair of heels over 1,200m on turf. He won by 21/4 lengths and clocked a smart 1:10.03.
He has not raced since his last success, but indications are, he is back to resume winning ways.
Norton Sound loud and clear
RACE 1 (1,400M)
(1) TARA ITI was a bit disappointing last time. But his form before that suggests he has a winning chance.
(2) TRUMPS EXPRESS has been close-up in his last two starts. Another winning hope.
(5) CASHING IN disappointed in his last three starts. He can surprise on his narrow second four starts back.
(3) STAR EFFECT should do a lot better than his latest effort.
RACE 2 (1,600M)
(1) NORTON SOUND has been pretty impressive of late. Although trying the Polytrack this time, he should prove hard to beat.
(3) YOU KNOW WHO quickened nicely to win his last start and should be a danger from pole position.
(4) DEBONAIR has done well on a soft track, so could enjoy the Polytrack.
(5) SON OF ZEUS has finished well behind Norton Sound in the past but has at least won on this surface.
RACE 3 (1,600M)
(1) RAROTONGA disappointed last time, but has a winning chance on her previous form.
(2) LADY ISABELLA ran a much-improved race recently.
(5) EMPRESS KI is making her debut and the betting will be a good guide on her chances.
(6) LAURETTA MIA is clearly a lot better than her last run would suggest.
RACE 4 (2,000M)
(1) HIKARU has been runner-up in five of his last six starts. Hopefully, he will not play second fiddle again.
(13) KLASERIE, who makes the trip from the Western Cape, is improving. Winning chance.
(6) NUSSPLY is unreliable but could pop up in the placing again.
(11) GREEN TIGER tends to lack a strong finish but could show improvement on the Poly.
RACE 5 (2,000M)
(4) LA DUCHESSE is a bit unreliable but could like stepping up to this course and distance.
(5) CANA is course-and-distance suited and is not out of it.
(8) SENESCENCE got her act together to pull off a win last time. She has run well on this surface, so could follow up.
(9) MAYFERN is consistent and must be considered.
RACE 6 (1,400M)
(1) SWEET THE SOUND has been consistent and has an obvious winning chance.
(2) DIAMONDS AND TOADS took many runs to break through. But she seems to have improved further.
(4) EUROPEANA has been a disappointment but is dropping in class. She has a top chance if showing her best side on the Poly.
(8) AFRICAN HOOPOE tended to race greenly early in her career but has put that behind her, so could have further improvement to come.
RACE 7 (1,400M)
(2) MARMARA SEA is back on his favourite surface and looks the one to beat.
(3) EARTH HOUR has beaten Marmara Sea, so must be considered, even if his last two runs were disappointing.
(1) GLOBAL DRUMMER was disappointing last time but probably could have done better if ridden with his usual aggression. Deserves another chance.
(4) WILD COAST has not run on the Polytrack but the Snaith Racing stable knows what it is doing.
RACE 8 (1,400M)
(2) DOGLIOTTI is returning from a break and could win a race like this if fit enough.
(3) ESSOS was not disgraced last time and is not out of it. He is also returning from a break.
(6) JET MIRAGE has clearly improved with blinkers and was full of running when breaking the maiden tag last start.
(9) FRANKIE TWO SHOES is in good heart and must be respected.