Racing

Mr Malek ready to rock you

Novice race on Sunday heats up as an exciting affair

While the Fortune Bowl is the "auspicious" one and the race to savour on Sunday, the Novice sprint on the undercard is shaping up to be a mighty interesting affair.

It brings together the likes of impressive last-start winner Afalonhro, Buuraj, debut winner The Wild Bunch and the very exciting - and possibly - future star, Mr Malek.

With these precocious youngsters all shooting for gold over the flying 1,200m, you can bet there will be no bums on seats when the going gets serious in that dash to the line.

Of the "quartet" mentioned earlier, I reckon Mr Malek could be the quiet achiever and the one they might all have to beat in Race 6.

So it was, on the training track at Kranji yesterday morning, that he gave us a sneak preview of what to expect from him on Sunday - and his workout spoke volumes.

Taken out by Vlad Duric, Mr Malek showed his liking for the sharp sprint, running the 600m in a cool 35.2sec. He had Ocean Crossing - who is not entered for this Chinese New Year meeting - as a galloping companion.

But it was all about Mr Malek. Like his namesake, Rami Malek, who played the main role in that hit show Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr Malek the racehorse certainly looked like he was ready to rock us.

He ran the 600m as if in contempt of the clock. Then again, he had every right to show off.

A three-year-old by Swiss Ace, he has been solid in his two hit-outs at Kranji.

Arriving as an unraced two-year-old in late March last year, he had his first race in mid July - just two weeks before turning three.

Ridden by Joseph Azzopardi, Mr Malek had plenty of admirers and they sent him off as the $12 top fancy in that 1,100m sprint. Sadly, when the going got serious, Mr Malek didn't have much left in the tank and third spot was all he could manage.

Three weeks later, he was back at it and, that day, with Patrick Moloney on the reins, the picture was vastly different.

His jockey played predator. Sitting one out and one back, he waited. Into the final stretch, and the crowd roared. They knew exactly what Mr Malek was going to do. Ears back, he went after the leading pack and, clinically, he broke their spirit.

Mr Malek had put almost five lengths between himself and second-placed Supermax.

It was as easy as that. Job done, he was cotton-wooled until now. Welcome back, Mr Malek.

Yesterday we pointed you in the direction of Bold Thruster in the Fortune Bowl. We're still looking at him but, for good measure, you might also want to give plenty of thought to the chances of Skywalk and Grand Koonta.

Both worked with gusto on the training track - Skywalk clocked 39.7sec with Daniel Moor astride, while Grand Koonta worked well for Alysha Collett, running the distance in 36.6sec.

Both were involved in high-class races recently. Grand Koonta ran second to Fame Star in the EW Barker Trophy in November while Skywalk had to play second fiddle to runaway winner Nowyousee in the New Year Cup.

Any which way you look at it, they're up to the task on Sunday.


YESTERDAY'S KRANJI GALLOPS BY HORSES ENGAGED ON SUNDAY

RACE 1

Heart Of Courage * (JP van der Merwe) 36.3. Lim's Rhythm 36.1. Winner Number One * (S John) 39.1.

RACE 2

Longhu * (M Kellady) 37.3. Hosayliao (N Zyrul) 38.5.

RACE 3

Performante canter/45. Dreamer legend 41.2. Attention * canter/38.8. Keep Winning * 39.1.

RACE 4

Made In Russia * (R Maia) 36.2. Inherit * (V Duric) 34.7. Magnificent Gold * 34.7. Blitz Power (Zyrul) 41.1. Sportscaster (M Lerner) 36.1.

RACE 5

Dee Mak Mak (I Azhar) 36.4. Ma Bao Bao (John) 40.2. Yulong Dream 43.5. Yulong Shengdao 45.

RACE 6

Mr Malek * (Duric) 35.2. The Wild Bunch (Zyrul) 38.7. You Qian Zhuan pace work.

RACE 7

Circuit Mission * (P Moloney) 36.4. Star Jack * (Lerner) 36.5. Threeandfourpence * (M Rodd) 37.7. Elite Remarkable (K Hakim) 40.2. Centenary Diamond 37.7.

RACE 8

Catch The Tiger * (J Powell) 37.7. Street Party * (A Collett) 41.6. Optimum Star 42.7.

RACE 9 (GROUP 3 FORTUNE BOWL)

What's New * (Moloney) 36.4. Skywalk * (D Moor) 39.7. Gold Strike * (Rodd) 37.1. Grand Koonta * (Collett) 36.6.

RACE 10

Limited Edition * (Duric) 38.7.

HORSE RACING