Destroyer eclipses his rivals second-up
Three-year-old leads all the way with cheap first sectional and debut conqueror Filibuster also scores in record time
It's not easy to score second-up, especially going from 1,000m or 1,100m to 1,200m on the Polytrack, but Destroyer Eclipse defied the odds to score a good win in Race 2 at Kranji last night.
Although the hot money was on fellow debut runner-up Fusion Power, Destroyer Eclipse managed to steal a cheap first sectional to lead all the way as the $16 second fancy.
Fusion Power went off as the $10 favourite but finished a well-beaten third, three lengths behind the impressive runner-up, newcomer What's New, and by a total of three-and-three-quarter lengths behind the impressive winner.
New Zealand jockey Craig Grylls did not expect to lead but found Destroyer Eclipse in front and got a cheap sectional at a slow 25.83sec for the first 400m.
The James Peters-trained three-year-old was almost a length ahead of Fusion Power at the halfway mark. A similar gap away came What's New on the inside, El Chapo in the middle and Bounceback Ability wide.
Grylls executed a winning move turning for home, urging Destroyer Eclipse to kick into the straight by a couple of lengths from Fusion Power, who was scrubbed hard just to keep in touch.
It was left to What's New, who was slow into stride at the jump, to challenge the leader with a top run in the final stages but the winner was too good, winning by three parts of a length.
The winning time was a moderate 1min 12.07sec in the Restricted Maiden event.
The race was delayed slightly as newcomer Avengers Hero broke through his gate, was vetted and withdrawn. All bets on the horse were refunded.
Peters was rapt with the big improvement showed by Destroyer Eclipse and he reckoned his charge will settle down and go further later on in his career.
"I was very pleased with his first-up run. He's by Alamosa out of a staying mare, so to do what he did over 1,100m was very encouraging," said the baby-faced Englishman.
"The step-up to 1,200m today looked a very nice race for him and he did a good job."
Can Destroyer Eclipse go 1,400m and 1,600m?
"For sure, he's still learning and he still wants to do a few things wrong," said Peters.
"He's a little bit keen in his work and things like that. So, we'll just try and educate him, maybe over shorter distances but I think, once he gets the grip of things, he'll go the 1,400m and the mile. No problem."
In hs debut on Oct 6, Grylls rode Destroyer Eclipse handily in fourth spot early before closing in to finish fourth to Filibuster, who clocked a swift winning time. Therefore, he was surprised his mount got to the front rather easily last night.
"I was able to get a pretty soft time and, left alone, he had a good kick at the top of the straight," said the young Kiwi.
"One horse sort of got closer but he kicked on again. I think this horse has got a bit of ability.
"On his breeding, one would think he would get over a trip, but we'll just have to wait and see."
With Destroyer Eclipse's form franked, it was no surprise his debut conqueror Filibuster also slayed her Class 4 opposition by three-and-a-half lengths in Race 7 and, in the process, broke Pole Paradise's course record for the Poly 1,100m in 1min 04.16sec.