Big Hearted flexes his muscles
Gold Cup winner wows them at Tuesday's trials
In what resembled a top-class race - minus the pomp and pageantry - Big Hearted wowed those lucky enough to be at trackside, with a brilliant trial on Tuesday morning.
To be fair and to set the record straight, the Singapore Gold Cup winner didn't win that 1,000m hit-out.
The honours went to his stablemate So Hi Class who, with Oscar Chavez on the reins, took the lead from the 600m mark and never gave it back.
But the story which trackwatchers would have traded over their coffee and toast was the one whose hero was Big Hearted.
The multiple winner ticked all the boxes while serving notice of the damage he could inflict on all who were planning to oppose him in the big races coming up.
More about that later. For now, the trial.
In the gates in that second hit-out of the morning were the likes of Grand Koonta, Mr Malek, Kharisma, Savvy Command and Top Knight.
Big Hearted, ridden by Shafrizal Saleh, had drawn Gate 4. When the starter sent them on their way, his rider eased him back to fifth.
From there, he could see Grand Koonta (Danny Beasley), Ocean Crossing (JP van der Merwe), Kharisma (Marc Lerner) and So Hi Class slogging it out as they battled for the lead.
Shafrizal was in no hurry. He knew that he had a ton of a horse beneath him, so he waited until they passed the 600m marker before waking up Big Hearted.
Three hundred metres out and it looked like So Hi Class and Grand Koonta owned the trial.
Big Hearted was fourth, about three lengths in arrears.
Then, a furlong out, Big Hearted spotted daylight and Shafrizal pointed him at the opening.
The champ grabbed at the chance to stretch his limbs and he shifted into top gear.
He would have taken the trial but the momentum was with So Hi Class, who prevailed with half a length to spare.
As for Big Hearted, he beat Grand Koonta by a short head with Mr Malek taking fourth spot. Big Hearted clocked 60.27sec for the trip.
It is no secret that Big Hearted is being aimed at the Singapore Gold Cup on Nov 4.
But, before that, his connections must surely be licking their lips at the prospect of him lifting the 1,600m Raffles Cup just a week away and the 1,800m Queen Elizabeth II Cup to be contested on Oct 16.
Both races are within his reach - as is the $1 million Singapore Gold Cup race which will be run over 2,000m.
Last year, Big Hearted won it for trainer Michael Clements and apprentice Simon Kok. It was a hard-fought slog but the winner lived up to his name, beating Minister by half a length.
It is not going to be any easier on Nov 4 but Big Hearted is in a "good place" and should the breaks come his way, he could repeat what El Dorado did in 2008 and 2009.
He could make it back-to-back Gold Cup wins.