Exceed Express shows speed in smart trial
Tuesday’s Kranji barrier trials
With a good fourth-placing in his first run of the 2017 season, EXCEED EXPRESS served notice of his intention to pick up from where he left off.
Then, and as if to hammer home the message, he threw down the gauntlet to his rivals in Sunday's Class 3 sprint over the 1,200m (Race 9) when he turned in an extremely smart trial on Tuesday morning.
Ridden by Glen Boss, Exceed Express cantered in by eight lengths and in a time of 60.93secs.
That, after jockey Glen Boss had ridden him quietly to the line.
Jumping cleanly from the innermost chute, the five-year-old was quickly into stride and by the time the eight-horse field had reached that first bend on the far side, he had put six lengths between himself and the chasing pack led by Knight Chen Bay.
With Boss given a sedan chair ride, they turned for the run home with daylight between themselves and the rest.
Exceed Express would, under his own steam, extend that lead and cruise to the line unchallenged.
Back to that fourth-place finish behind Sun Pioneer on Jan 8, what made it more commendable was the fact that it was his first appearance in a race for almost seven months.
Indeed, and looking back, you could even say it was his second race in 16 months.
So what are we to make of his resounding win at the trials?
I reckon it goes to show that he is getting it all together and that he should run an admirable race on Sunday.
As for ability, the multiple winner from Laurie Laxon's yard has tons of it.
To date, his four wins have all been won from the front.
Yes, the son of Exceed And Excel doesn't like to be headed and, like in his trial, come Sunday at the races we should see him try and dictate things from go to whoa.
Can he hold off the likes of Cyborg, Lightning Fast and Distinctive Darci? It is a tough ask.
But one thing is certain, Exceed Express will be in it for a long way.
Also at the trials on Tuesday, ELITE TAKES ALL put in a show which suggested an improved performance in his next start. Having a blinkers test and jumping from Gate Two, the four-year-old cleared the chute nicely and made every post a winning one.
He came under some intense pressure from Iconnic (stalls test) over the concluding stages but hung on gamely to win by a neck.
From trainer Cliff Brown's yard, Elite Takes All was ridden by Michael Rodd who was also on the reins when scoring on debut some three months ago.
Tuesday's barrier trial results
TRIAL 1 (ORT)
1 El Condor (B Woodworth)
2 Obstacles Free (R Shafiq)
3 Yaya Papaya (S Anandan)
4 Hero In The Wind (D David)
5 Country Boss (M Zaki)
6 Elite Gustavo (M Rodd)
7 Good Warrior (N Juglall)
Margins and time: 3, hd, 1 ½, 2¾, 1 ½, 27½ (1min 02.36)
1 Elite Takes All (Rodd)
2 Iconnic (I Saifudin)
3 Royal Diwan (Z Zuriman)
4 Kaiser Bright (Anandan)
5 Lim's Shine (D Beasley)
6 Charlies Missile (O Placais)
7 Happy Dayz (S Noh)
Margins and time: Nk, 1¾, 1¾, 3, 7½, hd (1:02.13)
1 Exceed Express (Boss)
2 Knight Chen Bay (G Moose)
3 Classified (A Munro)
4 Dreamweaver (O Placais)
5 Hee's A Maverick (D Beasley)
6 Eclair Shadow (I Azhar)
7 Apollo (Rodd)
8 Vanderbilt (V Duric)
Margins and time: 8, 4, HD, ¾, ¾, 1 ½, 4¼ (1:00.93)
1 Classic (Placais)
2 Keltic Karma (Duric)
3 Elite Emperor (Shafiq)
4 Hee's Ego (Beasley)
5 Copacabana (Rodd)
6 Phanfone (Zaki)
Margins and time: ½, ½, shd, hd, nk (1:04.97)