Gray’s horses looking sharp
Darc Bounty, Kharisma, Al Green and Hugo impress
With the training track at Kranji overrun by horses entered for Sunday's 14 races, it was trainer Stephen Gray's runners who seemed to dominate proceedings.
Lying fifth in the trainers' premiership with 11 winners this term, Gray has entered - what looks like - a modest team of just nine runners for the bumper meeting.
But don't let that fool you.
There's quality in those numbers and four of them impressed in their workouts - Al Green, Darc Bounty, Hugo and Kharisma.
In particular, there was plenty to like about the way Darc Bounty and Kharisma went about their business.
Darc Bounty was a fluent worker, running the 600m in 37.8sec. However, he's got his work cut out for him on Sunday. He's entered for the "top of the bill" Class 2 race.
It isn't a place he likes visiting. Indeed, he finished down the course the last two occasions he raced in Class 2 company.
Still, he seems to have come out none the worse for the long break from racing and, if he can reproduce the form he showed before the sport went into hibernation, he just might make a race of it on Sunday.
It was in early March that Darc Bounty stamped his authority against Class 3 opposition in a race over the flying 1,000m.
Clearing the chute cleanly, he stayed second until 200m out. Given rein, he collared the leader Lonhro Gold, skipped clear and held off the challenge from Ararat Lady to win by a comfortable two lengths. It was his sixth win from 27 starts.
If you are a fan of Darc Bounty, don't let the upgrade to Class 2 put you off from having a wager.
Darc Bounty's up to the challenge. In his long career, he's run second to Skywalk in a Class 2 sprint.
It was almost a year to the day that he failed by just half a length to catch Sacred Rebel in yet another Class 2 race.
As for Kharisma, he's plotting a course to the big time. In preparation for his fourth race start, he went against the clock yesterday, covering the 600m in a smart 35.9sec.
Vlad Duric, who was in the saddle, would have liked the feeling he got from the three-year-old.
A trial winner last month, Kharisma's report card since his January debut reads 3-2-2.
Last time out, he caught the eye when finishing a solid second behind War Frontier in a 1,200m race on the Polytrack. He did nothing wrong; the winner proved just too good.
He will wear the No. 1 saddlecloth on Sunday and it wouldn't surprise to see him add that all-important "1" to his racing resume.
Of Gray's other workers on the training track yesterday, Al Green and Hugo went into many notebooks as horses that must be followed.
Al Green returned 39.6sec for the 600m, while Hugo stopped the clock at 37.6sec.
It was a fortnight ago that Al Green finished fourth to Moongate Star. It was a scrappy run and his rider's tactics were called into question.
As for Hugo, he showed fighting qualities when winning his last start and a double wouldn't surprise.