It’s Walker on the double
Entertainer, Stenmark and Sacred Gift stand out at training
After sending out five winners on Lion City Cup Day last Saturday, trainer Mark Walker could be looking at another big harvest when this Saturday's 12-race programme gets under way.
What that five-bagger told us is that Walker's horses cannot be discarded or overlooked on raceday.
But some racegoers still need convincing. So, and as if to dispel all doubts, Walker's runners dominated the training track yesterday morning.
While Latent Power, Mustengo, Sacred Rebel and Buddy Buddy were barrier-trialled on Tuesday and Red Riding Wood apparently rested, the rest of his 23 entries trooped out. Three of them stood out. They were Entertainer, Sacred Gift and Stenmark.
I reckon Entertainer was the most exciting.
He had the "man of the moment" Vlad Duric in his irons when running 600m in 38.3sec.
It was an inspiring piece of work from the four-year-old who, at his last start some three weeks ago, shot his rivals to bits when putting together his hat-trick of wins.
It was not the smoothest of rides from top apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin who lost the use of his near-side rein for a short distance near the 200m mark. But he got the job done.
Then again, he had an exceptional horse in Entertainer. Can the son of Zoustar put together four wins in a row?
Nothing is plain sailing but his master had five just a week ago.
Then there is Sacred Gift.
Again it was Duric doing the steering and they covered 600m in a breezy 39.5sec.
Down to contest Race 3 - a Class 4 Division 1 sprint over the short and sharp 1,100m - Sacred Gift looks to be in the right frame of mind to go one better on his last two runs.
Both times he finished second. He went down by half a length to Paletas in February and, at his last start, he found one to beat in that hugely-talented sprinter, Sure Will Do.
Sacred Gift has been a good one for Remarkable Stable, having won three races from a dozen starts.
Come Saturday, he will not waste any time getting to the front. Once there, it will be a matter of "catch me if you can".
As for Stenmark, he is an unfinished product.
He has had four starts and each time he ran into some really good ones like Savvy Command, Be You and, most recently, Lim's Kosciuszko.
In preparation for his Saturday soiree in the final event, Walker had Hakim take him out for a 600m spin. Stenmark did it in 37.8sec.
Stenmark has to be a good one. He went under the hammer for $400,000 as a yearling and he knows what it is to win a race.
That, he did just a year ago at Wangaratta in Victoria.
It is a winnable sort of race which Walker has picked for his expensive import who just might start paying for his keep.