Local stars shine brightly at Kranji
Goal Keeper clocks the fastest time of the morning
Local contenders were the stars on the track yesterday morning when seven of the 10 gallopers from the home team set Kranji alight with some fast workouts.
But United Arab Emirates' Singapore Airlines International Cup hopeful LIMARIO did come out for a pipe-opener for the foreign brigade, while Japan's TOKEI HALO made his maiden appearance during the international contenders' earlier 5am-6am slot.
Among the gallops registered, Singapore's KrisFlyer International Sprint aspirant GOAL KEEPER lived up to his fleet-footed qualities when he recorded the quickest time (last 600m in 33.3sec).
The Theo Kieser-trained five-year-old speedster galloped on the right-handed Track 6.
Leading trainer Alwin Tan's KrisFlyer pair, EL PADRINO and CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, also shone in their respective hit-outs.
Trainer Patrick Shaw's SIA Cup candidate JOHNNY GUITAR also impressed in his turf sprint.
Overall, connections were sporting a wide grin after that all-important final gallop to top off their respective runners, while those who put their horses through quieter paces were also happy with the improvement shown.
Among the overseas trainers, Doug Watson (Limario), Jane Chapple-Hyam (MULL OF KILLOUGH) and Hisashi Shimizu (Tokei Halo) showed up for the first time to watch their precious charges work.
What the SIA Cup contenders did...
CITY LAD (SIN)
Galloped on the turf track under race-rider Soo Khoon Beng, reeling off the last 600m in 37.3sec on turf.
"He had his regular gallop, just the way he likes it, and I have to say he was a lot more relaxed today. I'm very happy with that run," said trainer Desmond Koh.
"His job is done and I'll just give him an easy time from now on."
Soo echoed Koh's satisfaction when he said he could feel a different City Lad under him.
"He felt really good this morning. Normally, when he gallops on the Polytrack, he is too keen and I have to hold him and he would do 36sec," said Soo.
"Today he was a lot more relaxed and, hopefully, he is the same on raceday. He is giving me great confidence he can put in a good run."
DAN EXCEL, MILITARY ATTACK AND STERLING CITY (KRISFLYER) (HK)
All three horses trotted over 500m and then cantered over one and a half laps (about 2,200m) on the Polytrack.
"It's the same workout they've been doing all week," said trainer John Moore's son George, who has been overseeing the trio's preparations so far.
"It's just about keeping them happy. Happy horses will run well. That's all we're trying to do when we travel, keep the horses happy and relaxed.
"They look good. I might weigh them later to see how they are but, visually, they look like they're gaining weight and doing very well."
JOHNNY GUITAR AND SLEW OF LODE (KRISFLYER) (SIN)
After Slew Of Lode came out for his hit-out on Tuesday, it was Johnny Guitar's turn to get busy on the turf track yesterday, galloping up a treat under race-rider Barend Vorster to clock 35.2sec. Slew Of Lode had a rest day.
"I'm very happy with Johnny Guitar's run, and so was Barend," said trainer Patrick Shaw.
"He felt good, ran over 1,200m, picked up from the 600m and, in the last 400m, Barend gave him a tap on the hindquarters. That's it for him, he will have a day-off tomorrow.
"Slew Of Lode had a day-off today and will come out for some light work tomorrow."
First serious piece of work since arriving in Singapore last week. Galloped over 800m on turf under work rider Martin Pearson, running the last 600m in 34.2sec.
"It's the best he's looked since I got him in December," said trainer Doug Watson, who was present at trackwork. "I'm extremely pleased with him today. We've had him every day on the bridle.
"It's his last piece of work and it was just an air opener. He went over 800m and I couldn't really time him from where I was standing but I think he would have done around 49sec for that.
"We'll hand-walk him tomorrow and maybe just a light canter of one and a quarter (2,000m) on Friday and Saturday. All his work is done and Martin has done a good job on him.
"I don't think we need to do anything else for him. All his work was done in Dubai and we'll just keep him fresh from now until the race."
MULL OF KILLOUGH (UK)
Trot and canter on Track 4 under track rider Abigail Harrison with trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam on hand to watch her ward work at Kranji for the first time.
"He's travelled good, lost only 5kg and has already put them back on," said trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam.
"Today, he just had a trot and canter on Track 4, and he will probably do two canters tomorrow.
"(Race rider) Damien Oliver gets here on Thursday and he may want to ride him on Friday. If he does, then he will just go for a canter on the grass track - just some even time, just to get a feel of him.
"It won't be a full-on gallop as he just had a run in the Earl Of Sefton, which he won again, about three weeks ago. So, all his work was done back home, he had a perfect preparation."
SIDE GLANCE (UK)
Steady canter on Track 4, up and down under track rider Leanne Masterton.
"He again had two steady canters down that Polytrack. Very happy with him," said Masterton.
"He'll go for a gallop tomorrow."
SI SAGE (US)
Hand-walked in the sand ring for around an hour.
"Today was just a walk for around an hour at the back," said trainer Darrell Vienna's son Chris.
"He pulled up good after his gallop yesterday. It's all systems go now."
SMOKING SUN (FRA)
Cantered one lap on the Polytrack under track rider Patrick Lemagny.
"He cantered again on the Polytrack but went a little quicker than yesterday," said Lemagny.
"He can a bit cheeky when he's alone on the track. He hates shadows.
"He will come out again for the same routine, just to get the rust off and maybe have a pipe-opener on Friday. All depends on the boss."
TOKEI HALO (JPN)
The final international horse to arrive on Tuesday morning, the Japanese-bred five-year-old entire did most of his work on the in-field sand track (Track 5), where he trotted two laps, followed by an easy canter over another two laps. Finally, he completed his workout with a good canter over one lap on Track 2 (Polytrack), finishing off the last 600m in 45.8sec.
"He's been eating well and is in very good condition," said trainer Hisashi Shimizu. "I'm very happy with him and everything's going well.
"The jockey (Hirofumi Shii) will arrive this evening and he will take over his work from tomorrow. He will gallop him tomorrow as well."
Galloped on Track 6 with senior track rider James Peters up, clocking 38.4sec for 600m.
"He is a light-framed horse and does not need to be overworked," said trainer Michael Freedman.
"James Peters just asked him to quicken up the last 400m. It was a nice piece of work and it will be just a matter of ticking him over until Sunday."
WILD GEESE (SIN)
Trotted and cantered on Track 4 with senior track rider Mick Lockett aboard.
"Today was just a quiet day for him. He had a trot and canter on Track 4 and everything's in good order," said trainer Steven Burridge.
What the KrisFlyer hopefuls did...
BALMONT MAST (IRE)
Came out for a hack over one lap of the Polytrack, up against the outside rails, under track rider Declan Quirke.
"We just went for a hack on the outside of the Polytrack," said Quirke.
"He pulled a little, as he does get wound up, but it's pretty normal for him. He's feeling great.
"I don't know if he will have a gallop, but it will probably be Friday if he does. The boss will let me know."
CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND EL PADRINO (SIN)
Both Captain Obvious (Oscar Chavez) and El Padrino (Danny Beasley) came out for their hit-outs on the Polytrack, but in separate gallops. El Padrino clocked 35sec, while his grey stablemate went a shade quicker in 34.4sec.
"He has peaked at the right time," said Chavez of Captain Obvious. "He was raring to go and I just had to let him slide forward.
"He's in the best form he has ever been. I hope he does not get a low draw as he will get all fired up on the inside of runners - middle draw would be nice."
Beasley was equally pleased with El Padrino.
"He went over 1,000m and strode very well. He's in good form, and however good form he is in now, I hope he runs as well," said the Australian jockey.
"I hope it rains like today. A wet ground will enhance his chances because of his feet problems."
EMPEROR MAX (SIN)
After his Tuesday gallop, he was just hand-walked at the stable.
"Max just walked today. I will trot him tomorrow," said jockey Lisa Allpress.
GOAL KEEPER (SIN)
Galloped on Track 6 with a track rider aboard, clocking 33.3sec.
"He galloped in a good time and pulled up good," said trainer Theo Kieser.
"My track rider Anwar rode him as they get on very well. He will swim from now on and maybe do some trotting, but his job is pretty much done."
LUCKY NINE (HK)
As has become the norm, the defending KrisFlyer champion was the first horse out bright and early. It consisted of a quiet canter up and down Track 6 with work rider Richard So up, followed by a practice jump from the barrier stalls.
"Quiet day for him today," said trainer Caspar Fownes, who flew home to Hong Kong shortly after trackwork to prepare for the night meeting in Happy Valley. He will return to Singapore on Saturday night. "He just went for a quiet canter up and down that short track just outside there, just a little warm-up.
"Then he had some gate practice without the blinkers on. I was happy with the way he jumped. He ran last year without blinkers on as well."
MEDICEAN MAN (UK)
Slow canter over 1,600m on the Polytrack with track rider Samantha Ward astride.
"He was not sweating as much today, which is good," said travelling head lad Andy Kidney. "It's all about acclimatisation, especially to the humidity.
Ward said Medicean Man gave her a good feel during the easy spin.
"I didn't ride him in Dubai, only at home. So this is my first time riding him overseas," said Ward.
"All's good with him. He had an easy canter around the track."
ZAC SPIRIT (SIN)
Galloped on Track 6 with race-rider Alan Munro aboard. Sprinted the last 600m in 35.7sec.
"It was a good workout. He ran smoothly down Track 6 and probably did around 36sec," said Munro.
"He's in great shape and I'm very happy with his condition. He's got the home advantage and he will run a massive race on Sunday. Hold on to your hats."