Freedman’s foursome in fine fettle
The best from yesterday's trackwork at Kranji
How often has it been said: "Lee Freedman's the trainer to follow." Most times, it has been a statement of fact.
Then again, on a given day, the same could be said of the champ, Mark Walker. And Cliff Brown. And Michael Clements. And for any of the trainers plying their trade at Kranji.
But what matters most to the regular bloke hanging over the railings as the horses parade in the mounting yard, is the present. Not what's coming up months from now, but what's there for him on the day.
And, that said, come Friday night, here's an observation. If you're one of the smart ones who's picky when it comes to punting, I'd say cast your lot with Freedman.
As of now, he's got four runners spread out over the eight-race programme and, try as you may, it'll be hard to find fault with any of them.
On the training track at Kranji yesterday morning, all four strutted their stuff in separate gallops and you had to be impressed with the turnout.
Excelling ran the 600m in 38.1sec. Healthy Star didn't do a thing wrong when clocking 38.2sec. Mr Dujardin went over the trip in 37.7sec while My Big Boss took it easy, clocking 40.3sec for the 600m.
Of the Freedman foursome, the most exciting had to be Excelling.
On a quick back-up after that win on Jan 18, Excelling is a horse in the ascendancy. He has had six starts for three wins, a second and a third.
The only time he missed making the board was in August at start No. 2. He finished fifth, less than two lengths behind the winner, Nova Vocal.
Three starts later, Excelling got win No. 2 and, a fortnight ago, it was with plenty of authority that he beat a Class 3 field over the 1,100m.
Promoted after that win, the $85,000 question is, can he pass his first test in Class 2?
Well, he's holding his form and the 1,100m trip on the Poly means he gets conditions to suit. And he also has a featherweight (51.5kg) on his back. I reckon he's worth a punt.
Healthy Star is another who can damage a few egos in the Restricted Maiden sprint.
It was back in October that he had hearts palpitating. It was his first trial and he ran his rivals ragged, winning by a dozen lengths in 60.09sec.
On debut, punters sent him off as the $11 second pick - but he ran second to Prime Time. He was back a month later but again had to play bridesmaid.
Healthy Star is too good a horse not to have won a race and Friday could be his breakthrough night.
As for My Big Boss and Mr Dujardin, they both showed at their last starts and on the training track yesterday morning that they're up to the task in their respective races.
It was a fortnight ago that My Big Boss got his second win for King Power Stable. He meets some other last-start winners on Friday but, on form, he should be in the firing line.
Oscar Racing Stable celebrated on Sunday with Mr Malek. There is nothing to suggest that Mr Dujardin cannot keep the bubbly flowing. The race suits and he carries a load of condition into the race.
He will be unsighted early but, when the going gets serious, he'll be the one in full flight.
Guide to yesterday's Kranji trackwork
GALLOPS BY HORSES ENGAGED ON FRIDAY
CLASS 2 - 1,100M:
Sacred Rebel canter/38.8. Excelling * 38.1. Quarter Back 42.5. Cadet * 38.5. Super Fortune (A Collett) 38.
Monday: Constant Justice 37.7. Autumn Rush * (WH Kok) 39.1. Sacred Don (R Zawari) 36.6.
CLASS 4 - 1,800M:
Luck Of Master * (S Noh) Mr Dujardin * 37.7. Yulong Xiong Hu (M lerner) 37.6. Middle Kingdom * (D Moor) 39.2. Shangani * (JP van der Merwe) 40.2. Jupiter Dragon * (M Zaki) 36.7.
Monday: Implement * 37.7. Mr Exchequer * (M Kellady) 37.7. Larry * (P Moloney) 36.7.
CLASS 4 - 1,100M:
Lord O'Reilly 39.4. My Big Boss * (Merwe) 40.3. Winning Hobby (R Maia) 35.6. Well Deserved (TH Koh) 43.7. Mr Fat Kiddy (I Saifudin) 44.6.
Monday: Toosbies * (T Krisna) 36.5. Bejewelled 36.6.
CLASS 5 - 1,700M:
Joyful Aspiration 36.1. Horse King (Merwe) 39.5. Gingerman * 37.8. Holy Grail (Moor) 38.2. Alwrich canter/44.1. Sun Dragon 36.1.
Monday: Gold Kingdom 38.8. Military Chairman (R Munger) 41.7. Red Riding Wood (I Azhar) 37.7.
CLASS 5 (1) - 1,200M:
Stardice * 37.9.
Monday: Atlantic Fox (K Hakim) 40.8. Black Quail * (Azhar) 37.6. Pratt Street 38.4.
CLASS 5 (2) - 1,200M:
Silver Joy (J See) 37.8. Sun Elizabeth * (Lerner) 39.2. Flash The Flag 37.9. Sugartime Jazz (Saifudin) pace work. King Warrior 35.5. Zahir 37.2.
Monday: Sayonara 37.7. Retallica * 37.6. Kubera's Chief (Lerner) 36.1.
OPEN MAIDEN - 1,400M:
SG Talent (Saifudin) canter/39.5. Fast And Fearless * (Moor) 36.7. Fort Mustang * 38.7. Wonosobo 37.2. Winning Power * (M Nizar) 37.1.
Monday: Ironclad * (Kok) 39.5. Happy Lucky Star (Moloney) 37.6. Speedy Rose 38.4.
RESTRICTED MAIDEN - 1,000M:
Awesome Conqueror (Saifudin) 43.1. Fountain Of Fame * (J Powell) 36.7.
Superior Coat 38.8. Healthy Star * (Maia) 38.2. Theodore 43.8. Winning Spirit 35.6.
Monday: Brutus * (B Woodworth) 40.7. Mega Gold 42.2.