Sports

Spalato makes it five wins out of five

The unbeaten SPALATO's Hong Kong dream is right on course, following his win in Race 7 yesterday. It was his fifth win in as many races.

Fresh from his break after his Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby win on July 13, the John O'Hara-trained five-year-old (above) was in a class of his own in the Kranji Stakes A event over 1,200m on the short course, albeit only against five runners.

After jumping well, Spalato pulled himself to the front.

Stablemate Rafaga cruised up from the 900m mark and was beside at the 700m mark, with Hot Gold next on the outside.

But Spalato, who also won the Group 1 Patron's Bowl over 1,600m, kicked away soon after and by the straight, it was a question of how far he would win by.

At the 200m mark, he was at least four lengths clear Jockey Manoel Nunes dropped anchor with 100m to go and yet the winner won by two and a quarter lengths in a fast time.

In race presenter Matthew Jones' words, Spalato "won in 1min 09.57sec with his head on his chest".

Nunes, who was aboard in his last four wins - apprentice TR Barnabas was astride on the horse's debut - was naturally pleased.

"Feels great, of course, to win like that," said the season's leading rider.

"Great horse, just knows what he's going to do. Today, he just jumped and put himself easily in front. I thought someone would lead but no-one came, so with 59.5kg, I was just worried about the weight but he was too good for them."

The Brazilian reckoned that Spalato is now more mature and the sky's the limit for him.

"To me, he's a bit more mature, more relax. If he keeps up like this, I don't know what he's going to do later, but he's going very well."

O'Hara has earmarked the Group 3 Saas Fees Stakes over 1,400m on Oct 19 or the Luzerne Cup over 1,200m on Oct 26 as Spalato's next race, and hopes to get an invitation for the International Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint over 1,200m on Dec 14.

If Spalato does get to go, O'Hara hopes to give his stable star a run in the Group 2 Longines Jockey Club Sprint over 1,200m on Nov 23 as the final lead-up to the rich sprint.

"We'll see how he pulls up before deciding whether to send him for the Luzerne Cup or the Saas Fee Stakes," said the Singapore handler.