Bold Thruster set for Sunday show
Dragon's Surpass Natural also turns in a good gallop on the training track
Two candidates for Sunday's Merlion Trophy race were put through their paces on the training track at Kranji yesterday morning and both came away looking in fine fettle.
They were Bold Truster and Surpass Natural.
From trainer Michel Clements' yard, Bold Thruster did an initial easy 600m gallop in 43sec. After a breather, the nine-time winner was sent out for a second spin.
That time, on the main Polytrack, Bold Thruster was all speed and he froze the clock at 34sec.
Though not as fast - but still impressive - Surpass Natural had Juan Paul van der Merwe in the saddle when sent over the 600m in a breezy 42.5sec.
The gallop was done on the right-handed Track 6 and, it must be said, the Leticia Dragon-trained phenom came away looking like he was ready to run the 1,200m of the "Merlion" right there and then.
Back to Bold Thruster.
Set to start off as race favourite in Sunday's showcase sprint, Bold Thruster won his last two starts with complete authority.
And, although he has yet to face the starter in this coronavirus-interrupted season, there's no denying that he is in the form of his life. Unraced since Feb 29, Clements has kept his charge ticking over nicely - thanks to two trials which he won impressively.
The first was two weeks ago. He breezed through that one, taking the lead before the field made that first left-hand turn and guarding it jealously.
Sacred Gift went full throttle over the final 100m and cut into Bold Thruster's lead but he was never going to win it.
Bold Thruster clocked 60.10sec for the 1,000m.
He was back at the trials last Thursday and that day he took the shine off the very-talented Skywalk, winning the hit-out in a very impressive 58.29sec.
Both times, Louis-Philippe Beuzelin did the steering.
The Frenchman has forged a good understanding with Clements and, since racing resumed on July 11, they have teamed up to land six winners, including that most recent double with newcomer Tuesday and two-from-two star Heartening Flyer.
Come Sunday, Beuzelin will relish taking the seat on Bold Thruster.
As for Surpass Natural, Dragon has done an excellent job keeping him in shape over the period of inactivity.
A winner of six races from nine starts, we haven't seen him at full potential. But we know that he won his last start with quite a bit still left in the tank.
That day, on July 26, Dragon nominated van der Merwe on the stable star and the combination struck gold.
It was Surpass Natural's sixth triumph and the first in the 2020 season.
Just turned five on Aug 1, this son of Elvstroem is still a rough diamond whose full potential hasn't yet been released.
He won't be punching over his weight in the $250,000 Merlion Trophy.
Rest assured, in the run-up to the feature, Dragon will add the polish on her stable star who will surely look like a million bucks in the parade ring.