Off-season trackwork at Kranji
Trainer Michael Clements' gallopers shine on training track
As they say, "the show must go on". And so, although racing at Kranji came to a halt with the final race of the season having been run last Sunday, the grind continues.
Horses have to be kept fit and ready when the action resumes on New Year's Day.
And, with that in mind, on a drizzly morning yesterday, Kranji's workhorses were seen out on the training track, being put through their paces by jockeys and track riders.
Impressive among them were the gallopers from trainer Michael Clements' yard.
Fresh from picking up a treble at the last meeting of the 2019 season, Clements' horses looked like they were ready to begin the new racing season tomorrow, if called upon to do so.
To mention a few, Royal Pavilion, Big Hearted and Spirit Of Big Bang stood out. They didn't break any land speed records but, sure as ever, they didn't carry any holiday fat.
Fresh from his third placing behind Coming Through on Dec 1, Royal Pavilion looked on top of his game when running the 600m in 40.2sec.
A son of Casino Prince, he is the classic example of a come-from-behind galloper.
He could appear in a coma from the "off" as he lounges near the rear as if enjoying a tete-a-tete with the other backmarkers.
Then, just when you think it's all over, Royal Pavilion takes flight and, as we have seen in his past runs, he is soon in the firing line.
That was the scenario when he scored his last win in early September and that was how the race shaped up for him in that last start.
Alas, on that Sunday, less than a fortnight ago, the finish came up too soon and Royal Pavilion had to settle for third.
Owned by Tivic Stable, the four-year-old is still being moulded. We haven't seen the best of him and his connections could be rewarded in the new season.
Same, too, with Big Hearted.
He didn't set the training track on fire. Indeed, you could say, he took it easy, running the 600m in 42.8sec. Still, it was a handy piece of work.
Like his stablemate, Big Hearted is a work in progress and it wouldn't come as a huge surprise if he turns out to be one of the stars of 2020.
Still a "little 'un" at three years old, he has already banked in more than $150,000 for Falcon Racing No 7 Stable.
And that's just the start.
With natural progression, the pot is going to grow.
It was early last month that he ran second to Inferno - a horse 13 rating points higher than his - in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes over 1,200m.
But, a fortnight later, that blemish was just a blur, when he put his third win on the board with a smashing victory over 1,400m.
Big Hearted is as generous as his name does suggest and he must be a nice horse to have in the yard.
As for that other Clements galloper sent out for work yesterday, Spirit Of Big Bang could be looking forward to the new season.
Like his stablemates, he didn't gallop against the clock and was timed at 42.1sec for the 600m.
A four-year-old Irish bred, he has been a revelation. Five starts: Two wins and three seconds.
A four-time starter in Ireland, where he picked up a second and a third before being flown out here, Spirit Of Big Bang opened his Kranji account at his third Singapore start.
Last time out, he came with a perfectly timed run to beat a Class 4 field over the mile.
He could only get better and, since we know he races well fresh, it could pay to watch him at his first start in 2020.