Racing

Blue Blood set to make amends

Grand Koonta also impresses on the training track

If you felt strongly that Blue Blood would make it two from two last month, you were not alone.

Down to a man, punters were of the opinion that Blue Blood had simply to show up and the prize would be his.

Well, we know what happened. After looking good when taking the lead at the get-go, the four-year-old began to get the staggers.

And, when it really mattered, his jockey Ryan Munger could not squeeze that little extra out of his mount.

At the 200m mark, Yulong Fast Steed drew alongside. In the wink of an eye, it was game over - for Blue Blood, that is.

Yulong Fast Steed went on to take the race with three lengths to spare.

In fairness though, Yulong Fast Steed had produced a command performance and, on the day, few would have beaten him.

Well, like all thoroughbreds, Blue Blood lives on to fight another day.

In preparation for his third race on Sunday, trainer Shane Baertschiger had his charge do a gallop on the training track.

And Blue Blood, with Matthew Kellady in the saddle, breezed over the final 600m in a neat time of 36.8sec.

If anything, it sent a message to his fans, telling them not to toss him aside on account of that last-start beating.

Indeed, Baertschiger has been meticulous with his preparation.

Just last Thursday, he sent Blue Blood to the trials and the son of Alamosa did not put a hoof wrong.

With Kellady doing the steering, he never gave the others a look-in, clearing away to win by more than three lengths.

His time for the Polytrack 1,000m was 59.71sec.

Blue Blood has to cover 1,400m on Sunday. Fitness-wise, he is spot-on. The distance, however, is a query - especially so early in his career.

No such problems for Grand Koonta.

He tackles the 1,400m in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy race - and he looks ripe for a grandstand performance.

Grand Koonta was also on the training track and he would have impressed his connections with that 38.6sec run over 600m.

From James Peters' yard, the consistent grey was a good thing beaten in the Group 1 Lion City Cup on Oct 25.

He was expected to be among the top four - at least.

But, as it turned out, he fired blanks. Sixth place was all he could manage.

Come Sunday, he gets the opportunity to win back his supporters. Given his preferred style of racing, the extra 200m in the feature event could work to his advantage.

Yes, do not be too hasty dropping off Grand Koonta.

He is a five-time winner. In 10 starts, he has banked in more than $300,000 for China Horse Club Stable.

He is better than that showing in the Lion City Cup and certainly more than capable of claiming Sunday's big prize.

HORSE RACING