Cousteau turns on the style
Sunday's seven-timer hero Ruan Maia steers Walker-trained charge to win trial by 'a street'
When the fields for yesterday's trials were released on Monday evening, the third of five looked like something to savour.
Among the eight runners were two very exciting prospects - Rocket Star and Minister.
Both had been outstanding at their last starts and we were keen to see how Rocket Star performed as he has been entered for Sunday's $250,000 Group 2 feature, the Singapore Classic.
As it turned out, a runner from trainer Mark Walker's yard took on the role of spoiler and, boy, did he do a great job.
Capable on land as he is on water, Cousteau ran them ragged, putting a swathe of daylight between himself and the rest.
Granted, this wasn't a race and both Rocket Star and Minister weren't out to break any records.
Rocket Star, from Ricardo Le Grange's yard, would eventually finish third, about 11/2 lengths ahead of the Lee Freedman-trained Minister, who finished sixth.
Forget the placings. Just take it like Rocket Star and Minister were out for a good stretch.
As for Cousteau, he did more than what was expected of him.
Never one to shine at the trials - this was his first "victory" in five such hit-outs - Cousteau certainly went for the jugular.
Perhaps it was the man in the saddle who couldn't get winning out of his system?
Anyway, with Kranji Mile-winning jockey and last Sunday's seven-timer hero Ruan Maia doing the steering, Cousteau flew out of the gates and when they made that first left-hander on the far side, he already had them strung out behind him.
Count Me In (Benny Woodworth), Buddy Buddy (CC Wong) and Rocket Star (A'Isisuhairi Kasim) tried to keep up but no sooner had they hit the 600m mark than they found Maia to be a mere speck in the distance.
There was no letting up and Cousteau went on to win by just over seven lengths. Given the fact that he wasn't urged on over the final 200m, his time of 60.11sec was really good.
Then again, Cousteau has always been a good horse to have in the yard.
In a career which began two years ago, the son of Exceed And Excel has won four races, was second twice and placed third on three occasions.
Since the resumption of racing, he has yet to face the starter. Make a note to check him out when he does return to racing.
The trainer Michael Clements-jockey Louis-Philippe Beuzelin partnership were successful twice.
They combined to take out Trials 2 and 4 with Miej and Khan.
A recent addition to the Clements' yard, Miej sat in the slipstream of Gnothi Seauton (Maia) until the 150m mark when he issued a challenge.
Taking the bit, he raced to a narrow lead and showed fighting qualities to hang on to win by a head. Yet to race at Kranji, he clocked 60.62sec for the trip.
As for Khan, he took the lead on settling and, when challenged in the run to the line, he packed a punch to win by half a length.
A five-year-old who has been placed once in Argentina, Khan made us sit up and take notice when he ran a close second to Lucky Imperator on Aug 2. He could soon start paying for his feed and lodging.
Yesterday's Kranji barrier trial results
TRIAL 1 (ORT)
1 Bright Future (CC Wong)
2 Oud Wood (WH Kok)
3 The Archer
4 Nineteen Glory (B Woodworth)
Margins and time: ½, 3¼, 1¾ (1min 2.01sec)
1 Miej (L Beuzelin)
2 Gnothi Seauton (R Maia)
3 El Macho (K A'Isisuhairi)
4 Golden Teak (Wong)
5 Winning Monster (CK Ng)
7 Without Prejudice (M Ewe)
Margins and time: Hd, ns, 6¼, 2½, 2¾, nk (1:00.62)
1 Cousteau (Maia)
2 Buddy Buddy (Wong)
3 Rocket Star (M Lerner)
4 Count Me In (Woodworth)
5 King's Speech (WW Cheah)
6 Minister (K A'Isisuhairi)
7 Implement (Beuzelin)
Margins and time: 7¼, hd, ¾, nk, ½, ½ (1:00.11)
1 Khan (Beuzelin)
2 Whistle Grand (Lerner)
3 Mister Dynamo (Wong)
4 Murrayfield (Cheah)
5 Another Show (M Ewe)
Margins and time: ½, 1, ½, 1¾, ½ (1:01.80)
1 Gold Company (A'Isisuhairi)
2 Amazing Man
3 Cai Poh Wang (Maia)
4 Legendary Era (Woodworth)
5 Declare War (Ewe)
6 Saturday (Beuzelin)
7 Qilin Top Form (T Rehaizat)
Margins and time: 3½, 3½, shd, 4½, ½, 7½ (1:02.03)