Moon Face shows his tough side
Cliff Brown gets a 'double' with Lonhro Gold
What's in a name? Plenty. Or little - depending on how you look at it.
Like, with a horse named Inferno you at once get a sense of "burning desire". It snarls at you. It's scary.
Not so, Moon Face.
It's too cutesy a name to instil any sense of fear into anybody. It's like he's asking for a hiding.
But don't be too hasty. Moon Face can turn ugly. And, by that, I mean, he could be anything but a pushover.
Like yesterday at the trials.
A horse named Moon Face turned out to be the schoolyard bully, beating his rivals into submission with a performance rich in enterprise, speed and resolution.
Like that champion Inferno, whose win on Saturday is seared into our collective memory, trainer Cliff Brown does seem to have in Moon Face one more "hot stuff" in his yard.
Bred in Argentina, Moon Face was all-conquering in the fourth of five trials run yesterday.
Ridden by Ruan Maia and jumping from chute five in that seven-horse hit-out, the horse with the cutesy name was smartly into stride and, even as the field sorted themselves out, he had scooted to the front.
Once there, all that Maia had to do was stay in the saddle.
For a horse who hasn't yet faced the starter, Moon Face certainly seemed to know what it was all about.
Kept on a straight course, he showed his more experienced rivals a thing or two about leading and winning from the front.
Into the straight and he had the chasing pack coming at him. Marc Lerner on First Chief, apprentice K Hakim on Showbound and Benny Woodworth on Count Me In were all in striking distance.
However, and as they were later to discover, Moon Face had not yet begun to work.
When he did open up, which was 150m from home, he left them standing.
Yes, they had no answer and Moon Face breezed home to win by 11/2 lengths from First Chief. Showbound took third, ahead of Magnum King.
Moon Face ran out the 1,000m trip in a very smart time of 59.79sec.
Like he did on Saturday, when he sent out a double with Trading Post winning an earlier race before Inferno's triumph, Brown was again doubly successful at the trials.
In the third trial of the morning, he saddled the experienced Lonhro Gold to win in stylish fashion.
Partnered by Juan Paul van der Merwe, and racing wide all the way, Lonhro Gold still managed to pinch the lead and hold it until 200m from home.
It was there that Ararat Lady and Man Of Mystery raced to the front but, just when it seemed they would pull away, Lonhro Gold fashioned another effort to win going away by half a length.
Like Moon Face, he, too, would go below the one minute mark, clocking 59.73sec for the trip.
It was a good trial by the five-time winner and, although he has done nothing in his races this season, he seems to be running into a rich vein of form and deserves a hard look when he next goes to the races.