Newcomers dazzle at dawn
Arnantara and Healthy Star put in winning gallops on training track
Come Sunday, two newcomers to Kranji's racing ranks could make winning debuts.
They were on the training track yesterday morning and both were super-impressive.
So, remember the names Arnantara and Healthy Star.
It's been five months since he arrived at Shane Baertschiger's yard with a solid reputation.
Like some celebrity, Arnantara had jetted in from New Zealand and those in the know were waiting to see him in action at his Kranji debut.
It was supposed to be on Sept 22 and he would have had admirers in that Class 4 Division 2 sprint. But everything that could go wrong, went wrong.
Arnantara had been saddled and was ready for action when he fell over in the parade ring and was subsequently found to be lame.
Of course, he was withdrawn by order of the racing stewards and his connections had to wait another day to see their $140,000 import strut his stuff.
Back to the trials he went and it was a week ago that he galloped the 1,000m in 61.53sec.
It was the test the Stewards had ordered and he passed it.
The way was cleared for his debut and yesterday, Arnantara was put through his paces by Matt Kellady.
It was an excellent piece of work and the son of Draci Brahma returned a time of 38.1sec for the 600m.
All that's left is to see how he fares on Sunday and, judging from his home record, we could be witnessing a winning debut.
As a three-year-old, Arnantara raced three times in New Zealand for two wins and a second. Both his wins were on rain-affected tracks and over the 1,200m and 1,400m.
On arriving here, he was quickly put to work and a month ago he won a trial with some authority. Jumping from eight, the bay with the white blaze raced to the front and held off the chasing pack to win by almost a length. Up in the saddle, Kellady was afforded an armchair ride.
He meets some really talented ones in Race 9 on Sunday but if Arnantara runs true to his New Zealand form, he could be the one leading the field home.
Of course, a bit of rain will also help the cause. As for that other newcomer, Healthy Star also looks set to blaze a trail on debut.
His work on the training track could not have been faulted. With Joseph Azzopardi doing the steering, Healthy Star ran the 600m in 38.2sec.
Rewind back to 10 days ago when the three-year-old was sent to the trials. What he did to his rivals that day must still hurt.
Clearing the gates cleanly, he soon took up a commanding lead. Heading for the 600m marker and as the other riders smacked their horses, Healthy Star seemed to get even better. There was daylight between himself and the rest.
Into the stretch and John Powell, who rode him that day, could have done the crosswords in the saddle.
Indeed, had he sneaked a peek behind, he would have seen panic on the faces of the chasing pack as they became smaller in the distance.
Healthy Star went on to win by a dozen lengths while clocking a truly impressive time of 60.09sec - easing up.
Enough said, I reckon.