Big contest ahead in Class 2 sprint
Mr Malek, Lim's Craft, Sincerely and Churchill strut their stuff
While not a "feature" in the sense of the word, the Class 2 contest over the 1,400m on Saturday is shaping up to be an intriguing contest.
And it's not just the horses that we're talking about.
Thirteen trainers have entered horses for this $85,000 race and, with no-one having a monopoly, there's a wheelbarrow full of bragging rights up for grabs.
It's as exciting as a horse race could get.
With the tension being tight as a piano wire, the training track was a busy place yesterday morning. And, when the dust had settled, there were four standouts from just that one race.
They were - in handicap order - Mr Malek, Churchill, Lim's Craft and Sincerely.
One of three from the Lee Freedman barn, Mr Malek reeled off 600m in 36.1sec.
If, and surely it must be, his final fast gallop before Saturday's action, Mr Malek does seem to have the traits of an honest brawler.
Last time out, in late October, he ran second to the mighty Inferno in the Group 1 Lion City Cup. Cotton-wooled since that race, he has had two trials, the last one just a fortnight ago. It was a mighty impressive 1,000m hit-out, which Mr Malek won in 59.73sec.
You'd better believe it, he'll go into Saturday's contest wearing the hard eye of a contender.
From the stables of Ricardo Le Grange, we had Churchill strutting his stuff.
Back on his game after that 1/2- length second to Lim's Craft on Dec 27, Churchill had Wong Chin Chuen doing the navigating when running 600m in 37sec.
A winner of three races from 10 outings, Churchill will feel right at home over 1,400m.
After all, it was last February that he won over the distance while carrying 57.5kg.
He gets into Saturday's sprint with just 52kg.
Another one with a light weight to carry is Lim's Craft. Prepared by Steven Burridge, the five-year-old was another one of Wong's rides.
And, while horse and rider weren't out to break any track records, they put together neat sections - covering 600m in 39.8sec.
Lim's Craft is a work in progress. By Smart Missile, his last win on Dec 27 was over 1,400m. He won that one when carrying just 50.5kg on his back. He gets in with the same weight and, once again, it'll feel like he's carrying a feather.
Then, on a drizzly morning, we had Sincerely doing his thing.
Ridden by Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, Sincerely wasn't asked to do much and he breezed over 600m in a neat 38.2sec.
Prepared by last season's champion trainer, Michael Clements, Sincerely is a French-bred who is slowly making his way up the ranks.
A debut winner last September, he has had just five starts. Last time out, he was beaten into third in the Group 3 Colonial Chief Stakes won by Super Dynasty.
He's another one of the lightweights who could spring an upset in, what surely is, the best race on Saturday's card.