In-form Walker continues to lead the Kranji training ranks

Mark Walker

It is early days but trainer Mark Walker has opened up a decent lead in the trainers' premiership and, of the top 15 last year, those that are struggling are John O'Hara, who is yet to get on the board, and Sam Chua, who finally got a dead-heat winner last Sunday but managed to get the full prize in the stewards' room.

With 21 winners, Walker is seven clear of nine-time champion Laurie Laxon.

Leslie Khoo, Stephen Gray and Brian Dean have had bright starts to the year, auguring well for a very competitive season among the training ranks.

Cliff Brown continues to win a significant percentage of the 1,400m races and has an uncanny knack of winning the last race on the programme.

While he has a star in Zac Spirit, it is known he has a high opinion of Absolutely, who resumed with a strong win in the Three Rings Trophy and will be brought along very patiently with longer races in mind.

The training effort of the month had to go to Letitia Dragon, who has turned the 1,100m Polytrack Class 5 horse Pint Sized Prince into a successful Class 4 turf performer over 1,400m.

Having his fourth trainer somehow or other, Letitia worked out the horse, wanted longer and to be ridden more patiently, with devastating effect.

After his win last Sunday, wags were suggesting someone might like to check his brands.

Until the last weekend, the jockey's premiership was looking decidedly unbalanced with the expatriate riders Nunes, Rodd, Brown, Munro and Newitt accounting for over 50 per cent of winning rides but the racing gods are a persnickety lot and gave the leading riders a hard time in the first March meeting.

None more so than runaway table leader Nunes, who rode no winners but six seconds, was reprimanded for a potentially frivolous protest and has to start a suspension next week.

All on the same day that Joao Moreira rode six winners in Hong Kong.

As they say, that's racing.