Racing

Oh, so easy for Grand Koonta

Irish-bred romps home by three lengths for second successive victory from just three starts at Kranji

If it were a movie, you didn't have to stay till the end.

The "plot" was non-existent. We knew all along how it would end and what was going to happen.

So, you're excused if you didn't stay for the last race and instead made a dash for the MRT station.

Grand Koonta was simply too good. Too smart. Too clever. Indeed, you didn't have to be a shrewd punter to know how the race would pan out.

And, as it turned out, Grand Koonta lived up to everyone's expectations.

Taking on all of 11 rivals in Class 4 Division 1 sprint over the 1,200m, he made it look so easy.

After enjoying a comfortable transit in a one-out, one-back position in the $50,000 race, the four-year-old Irish-bred was happy to bide his time.

He knew just how he was going to gobble up those in front of him and, in the process, reduce them to the role of stragglers.

So, when jockey Michael Rodd pressed the "go" button at the 400m pole, it was game over for his rivals.

For the rest of the trip, they were left with the unpleasant sight of watching the race get further and further away from them.

The spanking could have been harsher if not for Rodd sitting up to pose for the camera 50m out, but Grand Koonta still clocked a Class record of 1min 09.49sec for the 1,200m on the long course.

If you must know, Lizaz (Iskandar Rosman) won the battle for minors. He was three lengths behind Grand Koonta and 3/4 lengths ahead of third-placed Oxbow Sun (A'Isisuhairi Kasim).

Until Sunday's runaway win, Grand Koonta had won once at Windsor in England when prepared by leading Lambourn trainer Clive Cox over the 1,219m.

Sent here to continue his racing, he needed a "tune up" on debut in early February when he finished second.

That done, he won at his second try, beating Sacred Guru without raising a sweat.

Trainer James Peters, recognising the potential in that "tank", decided not to rush Grand Koonta.

After all, there would be plenty of bigger and better races to contest in the not-too-distant future.

Even after Grand Koonta won with such ease on Sunday, Peters would not get too carried away.

"He reproduced what he showed us on the track. He's been working well," said the Englishman.

As for the future, Peters said they would probably look for a Class 3 race over 1,200m for him next.

"There's one coming up in three or four weeks," he said.

There is every chance Rodd might then have to hand the ride back to his regular partner Daniel Moor, who is serving a suspension.

But, while he had a grip on the reins, Rodd was going to enjoy himself.

"He was very impressive. Unfortunately, he has such an overreaching action and covers so much ground that I think he cut himself," said Rodd.

"He doesn't really switch off, does he? He just wants to race all the time."

In two wins and one second from three outings, Grand Koonta has already returned more than $65,000 in stakes for his owners, the China Horse Club.

HORSE RACING