Speedster all set to do battle
Grand Koonta, Muraahib, Gold Star and Nepean flex their muscles on training track
It was in January that Grand Koonta last won a race - and Ruan Maia was the man in the saddle.
Yes, it's been that long ago, but it hasn't been for lack of trying.
While trainer James Peters has spaced out the runs for his galloping grey, his second win for the year has been fast slipping away.
Grand Koonta gets his chance to put things right in Race 9 on Singapore Gold Cup day.
It's the $100,000 sprint over the 1,200m and, while he gives weight to all his rivals, he is in that kind of form which could frighten the best.
Grand Koonta was on the training track yesterday morning and he did it easy, running 600m in 39.2sec.
Then again, it was just last week that he did a rousing gallop at the trials where he clocked a more-than-decent 60.65sec for the Poly 1,000m.
While Grand Koonta's last two races didn't produce the desired result - he was well-beaten in both - his showing in that Kranji Stakes A sprint in August was full of merit.
That day, when sent off as favourite, he finished second to Kharisma, after being held up for a run from the 450m to the 200m mark.
A win on Sunday will be hugely welcomed by his owners, China Horse Club.
But, first, he will have to deal with the opposition. Off hand, there are at least a half dozen who should be good for the prize.
Six of them were sent out for work on the training track. The standouts were Muraahib, Gold Star and Nepean.
Muraahib clocked 40.1sec when ridden by Shafrizal Saleh.
Gold Star ran the trip in 38.4sec, while Nepean had Matthew Kellady on the reins when clocking 37.5sec.
The other three were Fame Star (42.1), Nowyousee (canter/38.6 with S John aboard) and Real Success (44.4).
Muraahib comes into the calculations on the strength of his last-start second to Entertainer a fortnight ago.
It was an agonisingly narrow defeat and it would have hurt. That was on the Polytrack. On Sunday, he gets to race on turf. It's his forte and it could make a huge difference.
Gold Star was also beaten by under a length at his last start in September.
Since then, he has been to trials twice and his showing in that last one - just last week - was really good.
Ridden by Wong Chin Chuen, he won that hit-out by a length - easing down.
Then there's Nepean. He posted his sixth success at his last start just last month.
That day, in that 1,400m race, he blitzed his rivals, leading from pillar to post.
He, too, had an easy trial just last week and he will be looking a picture in the mounting yard on Sunday.