Racing

Terrific trio lay down battle plans

As you chart that weekly pilgrimage to the racecourse on Friday, circle in red that Open Benchmark 74 sprint over the 1,200m.

You see, if morning trackwork can be used as a guide to how the weekend affair will unfold - and it normally does - the race on the short course should prove to be a cracker.

We're making this assumption on the strength of the gallops put in by three of its in-form runners, namely BIG MAN, SHADOW OF WAR and SKYWALK.

In separate gallops, they put stars before their names.

Big Man, a true talent from Shane Baertschiger's yard, had John Powell in the saddle when he breezed over the 600m in 37.3sec.

With three wins in his last five starts, there were excuses for that last-start disappointment when sixth to Hermano Menor on Nov 6.

Drawn gate 10 in that 11-horse field, he was made to race wide all the way and never got the chance to dictate things, which he prefers.

Indeed, in all of his four wins, he got the lead at the jump and stayed on to bag the goodies.

BATTLE WORTH SAVOURING

How will he fare against the likes of that other speedster, Shadow Of War? Now, that's a battle worth savouring.

The money-spinner from champion trainer Alwin Tan's yard turned in a slick workout, covering the 600m in 38.1 sec with Olivier Placais in the saddle.

The son of classy sire Sebring, Shadow Of War is also noted for his speed and his last win was pure class.

Ridden by Placais, he took charge soon after clearing the chute and was never headed. The chestnut eventually cruised in with two-and-a-half lengths to spare. The race was over the flying 1,000m.

As for Skywalk, he impressed with a fluent hit-out, clocking 37.4 sec for the trip. He had Vlad Duric on the reins.

Prepared for the races by James Peters, he has been off the board in just one of his five starts and is gold dust to his owners, the China Horse Club Stable.

Unlike the two speedsters he will face on Friday, Skywalk prefers to seek cover early before turning on the style when all have fanned out for that run home.

What it means is that, should all three bring their A-game to the races, Friday's OB 74 sprint will be an event to appreciate.

Penang trackwork

WORKOUTS BY HORSES ENGAGED ON SATURDAY

Premium 2&3yo - 1,100M: Cizen canter/37.3. Bahar canter/39.7. Barrier test: Jabbar * 36.5.

Class 4 - 1,100M: Lee's Defender 42.3. Barrier test: Aragorn 36.5. Pace work: Professor X *.

Class 4 - 1,100M: Drought canter/39.7. Multi Wealth * canter/43.4. Ruffle The Ruffian canter/41.3. Pace work: Zenidekka *.

Class 4 - 1,400M: Our River Dancer * 38.9. Tawqeet canter/37.1. Alfraaj 40.1. Royal Explorer * canter/35.6. Aguero canter/38.8. Mata Mata canter/36.9. Runforit canter/36.9. Probably canter/37.8. Pretty Able canter/40.5. Pace work: Mr Victory.

Class 5 - 1,200M: Pius Touch 36.3. Black Viscount * canter/43.7. Sacred Achiver * canter/40.3. Magic Ranger canter/43.4.Storm hero * 40.9. Flaming Fireheart 41.5. Barrier test: Glorious Wealth 37.1. Pace work: Royal Choice, Victory March and Lee's Melody *.

Class 5 - 1,200M: South Emperor 36.6. First Option canter/39.9. Molly Browne 39.7. Green Tracer 44.1. Mr Newman canter/38.9. Anak Penang canter/40.3. Barrier test: Lightning Queen 36.5. Pace work: Black Sequalo, Blazing, Black Ahead * and Moonbeam Dazzler *.

Class 5 - 1,200M: Hacker canter/40.5. The Professional canter/44.5. Lazaroo * 44.4. Lucky Money 38.3. Zac Gallant canter/38.8. Astroheat * 44.5. Barrier test: Superb Seven 36.5.

Racing