Nova Strike all fired up for win No. 8
Trainer Alwin Tan's Derby place-getter the star performer on Kranji training track
Emirates Singapore Derby winning-trainer Alwin Tan's NOVA STRIKE worked with gusto at Kranji yesterday morning and looks set to score again.
Taken out by jockey Derreck David, the four-year-old chestnut packed plenty of oomph when he covered 600m on the Polytrack in 36.3sec.
He pulled up wanting more, suggesting that the horse is all wound up to notch his eighth victory on Sunday.
That will be his first race since finishing a creditable third to stablemate Infantry in the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 2,000m earlier in the month.
Nova Strike will be heading for an easier task in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1,400m on Sunday.
Although they say it's not so good for horses to come back in distance, from 2,000m to 1,400m in this case, Nova Strike appeared to be bursting out of his skin yesterday and, as they also say, there're exceptions to the rule.
From 30 starts, Nova Strike has notched seven wins, eight seconds and five thirds. He rarely runs a bad race.
A few of his Sunday rivals also worked well yesterday morning, including trainer Ricardo Le Grange's trio of MAJESTIC MOMENTS, EMPEROR'S BANQUET and MR FANTASTIC.
Majestic Moments cantered one round on the Polytrack before running the final 600m of his second lap in 34.6 with the stable's champion Quechua for company. He had jockey Nooresh Juglall astride. Jockey Vlad Duric was on Quechua.
Emperor's Banquet, who was ridden by jockey Barend Vorster, was acompanied by Redoubt (Juglall) also in 34.6.
Redoubt, a beaten favourite last start, also looked fit and can recoup the losses in Sunday's Initiation event over 1,600m.
Mr Fantastic (Vorster) went with Class 1 stablemate Time Odyssey (Juglall) in 34.8. Both horses cantered beforehand.
Both Majestic Moments and Emperor's Banquet have yet to race this year but have been prepared quite adequately for their comeback.
Majestic Moments, whose last race was in November last year when sixth to Bahana in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup, has had four barrier trials. Although he did not win, he finished near the winners.
Emperor's Banquet, whose last race yielded a fourth to top horse War Affair in September last year, has done two barrier trials, the latest a narrow second to Mr Fantastic last Thursday.
Like Majestic Moments, Emperor's Banquet should run well fresh. Both horses have won seven races apiece.
Six-time winner Mr Fantastic is one of the four lightweights in Sunday's race and that could be his best arsenal to spring a surprise against his higher-rated rivals.