Baertschiger’s entries the stars of the morning
Australian trainer enters biggest team and should have a good haul on New Year's Day at Kranji
If yesterday's trackwork is any indication, trainer Shane Baertschiger looks set to start the new season with a bang.
Yes, it's true that the lanky Australian has assembled the biggest team for the New Year's Day meeting with 14 entries but it was the manner his horses worked that suggests that, with luck, he should have a good haul.
With four of his entries having either galloped or trialled on Tuesday morning, the remaining 10 came out in five pairs to gallop and they all looked fit, in particular Be Bee, Chocolats, Dusseldorf and Montaigne.
Be Bee and Land Below D Wind were the first pair to come out at the break of dawn.
Be Bee, with jockey John Powell astride, was clearly the better horse as the duo galloped over 600m on the Polytrack in 37.4sec.
Be Bee finished with plenty in hand, while Land Below D Wind also looked smart with jockey Matthew Kellady in the saddle.
Be Bee, whose three victories from four starts included the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe, is a fore-runner for the Champion Two-Year-Old award to be held next month.
Now three years old, the New Zealand-bred gelding's latest win on Dec 1 was true testament of his honesty and ability.
It wasn't easy for a horse to come out from a spell to win first-up over the Polytrack 1,200m but Be Bee did it with aplomb.
He is a horse heading for better things and Monday's Class 3 (2) event over 1,200m could be his for the taking.
Land Below D Wind, a reference to the East Malaysian state of Sabah, is handicapped in a winnable Class 5 race over 1,400m.
Chocolats (Powell) was next to troop out with Kiss Your Song (Kellady) and the pair matched strides over 600m in 37.9.
Chocolats looked a ball of muscle and should perform well with only 51kg in the Class 3 event over 1,600m should he secure a berth.
He is currently the second of four emergency acceptors.
The four-year-old Australian-bred gelding ran a top race last time out on Dec 3, final day of the 2017 season.
He beat all but the back-in-form Pusaka in Class 4 over the 1,600m trip.
Clearly, he has improved a lot and all he needs is to get that slot in Monday's race.
Kiss Your Song, a last-start third on Dec 1, has his chance as he is only up against Restricted Maiden rivals over the Polytrack 1,100m.
TREAT TO WATCH
It was a treat to watch Baertschiger's third pair, Dusseldorf (Kellady) and Montaigne (Powell), go through their paces.
Both horses strode out energetically over 600m in 38.6 and pulled up all fired up.
Dusseldorf, who has had three starts for a third, has obviously hit form.
Before yesterday's brilliant hit-out, he signalled his winning intention with a runaway trial victory last week.
Montaigne, who has had a win, three seconds and two thirds from 10 starts, also has good recent form to boot.
He finished second last time out on Dec 1 and, with Dusseldorf, will give Baertschiger, a two-pronged attack in the Class 3 (1) event over 1,200m.
Baertschiger's fourth pair, Country Warrior (Kellady) and Tun O'Reilly (Powell) clocked 39.1. Both looked well.
The fifth of Baertschiger's pair - Ladrone (Kellady) and Able Pins (Powell) - went eagerly over 600m in 38.3.
The 2017 season has been Baertschiger's best since he took over from his father Don, saddling 61 winners and finishing third in the trainer's premiership, and he would certainly be looking forward to start the new season on an auspicious note.