Seasoned Conqueror still in Awesome nick
Veteran of 47 starts puts daylight between himself and the rest at trials
If anything, he truly lived up to his name. Awesome Conqueror was – pardon the pun – awesome at the trials on Dec 5.
The Bullbars seven-year-old took it in no uncertain terms and, should he be able to carry that form into his next race, we could be in for a forward showing.
Here is how it all panned out on that overcast morning.
Saifudin Ismail was entrusted with the reins on the Mahadi Taib-trained galloper, who jumped from the innermost gate.
Like a diner making a beeline for the toilet after eating a tainted oyster at a buffet, Awesome Conqueror was in a hurry to get somewhere – fast.
He dashed to the front and simply kept going.
Up in the saddle, the veteran rider enjoyed having the wind in his face.
Clearing that first turn on the far side, Awesome Conqueror had a six-length break on the chasing pack which was led by Retallica, who was in a bunch with Liebestraum and Rhett Butler.
Hitting the 600m marker, and Marc Lerner on Retallica would have needed a pair of binoculars to keep track of the leader’s shenanigans.
By then, Awesome Conqueror was 12 lengths clear – and showing no signs of stopping.
The runaway leader would eventually cross the line with 6½ lengths to spare. That was after Saifudin applied the brakes at the 100m mark. His time for the 1,000m was a modest 1min 1.61sec, though.
It was, after all, a muddling sort of run as Awesome Conqueror is not noted for blistering speed.
Indeed, the only time he made every post a winning one was when he scored the last of his three career wins.
That was way back on Feb 12. That day, with Saifudin in the saddle, he won a 1,400m race when leading from go to whoa.
In his subsequent five runs, he never once took the lead.
Awesome Conqueror is getting long in the tooth, but he is still as feisty as ever.
While he has done little to inspire confidence, maybe that win at the trials will rekindle some inner spark and, when we next see him at the races, we might get a tearaway treat.
In the same trial, mention must be made of Cheerful Baby.
He was never in the hunt in the early stages of the trial and it was only at the furlong mark that he came into the reckoning.
Ridden by Iskandar Rosman, he charged home from way back to claim second spot – some 4 3/4 lengths ahead of trainer Stephen Gray’s trio of Arya Pakuan (Matthew Kellady), Liebestraum (Rozlan Nazam) and Retallica.
The son of Brazen Beau is still winless after five Kranji starts. But, on the strength of his show at the trials, the “baby” looks like he is ready to slip into those big boy pants.
In an earlier trial, the Gray pair of Silent Is Gold and Kharisma lived up to their high ratings when making it a one-two finish.
They did not break any land speed records with the winner clocking 1:01.91.
But there was intent from both of them, and they could have left plenty in the tank for the next time they make it to the races.
Already a winner of six races from 20 starts, Silent Is Gold (87 points) must seem like gold dust to his owners, the Buddy Buddy Stable.
To date, the son of Star Turn has plonked more than $300,000 into their bank account and, being five years old, there are still more wins in that big frame of his.
Same too with Kharisma (90 points). He, too, has an outstanding bank balance, having cashed in $641,000 from 11 wins, four seconds and four third placings.
An out-and-out sprinter, the Mossman seven-year-old’s last win came in the Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1,200m) on Aug 6. That day, he shrugged off a challenge from Pacific Emperor to win by a neck.
It was a huge scalp to claim as Pacific Emperor would go on to bag two high-class races, including the Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1,200m) on Oct 28.
Although Kharisma finished second in that trial on Dec 5, keep him on your radar. He could help pad up your bank balance.