Oracle deserves a second chance
Excelling wins Tuesday's morning trial in fast time
The first and last time Oracle showed up in race, he lost some friends.
That was after he had a busload of fans following him into that Restricted Maiden race on Sept 19.
Could not really blame them for feeling disappointed.
They had noted how Oracle won a trial just nine days earlier and they had marked him down as a "must-follow" in that 14-race programme.
It is still painful to repeat what happened.
Sent off as the $24 third pick in that 12-horse affair, Oracle was never in the hunt, plodding home to finish in eighth spot - some nine lengths behind the winner, Tiger Roar.
Even Nostradamus - his sire - could not have seen such an outcome.
Trainer Tan Kah Soon's camp could offer no explanation for that below-par run.
Well, Oracle was back at the trials on Tuesday morning. Although he did not repeat that 14-length demolition job on his rivals - like he did in that earlier trial - he again impressed.
Partnered by his regular rider, CC Wong, Oracle followed in the slipstream of the leaders right up to the top of the stretch.
Then, as they raced five abreast, Wong fashioned a run wide out.
Asking Oracle to go, the three-year-old obliged.
In a neck-and-neck tussle to the line, he nosed out newcomer Dragon Sands. His time for the 1,000m was 62.31sec.
It was not a runaway victory, but it was still mighty impressive, as it showed up Oracle's fighting spirit - something which seemed missing in his debut.
Owned by the trainer, Oracle was a $70,000 purchase.
In fairness, he is not as bad as his run on debut suggested and he deserves a second chance.
He was to have run at the just-concluded meeting, but was scratched on the Wednesday when acceptances closed.
Make a note of the name Oracle. He should be winning soon.
Also excelling at the trials was, well, Excelling.
He took the third sprint of the morning with some authority.
With A'Isisuhairi Kasim's feet planted firmly in the irons, that classy import tracked the pace all the way until the 400m mark where he claimed the lead.
Then, with 100m to go, he charged clear - putting a couple of lengths between himself and the rest, headed by Nowyousee, the mount of Noh Senari.
Excelling went on to win by almost two lengths in a smart time of 59.25sec.
The Merlion Trophy success at his last outing was his fifth from 10 starts.
An honest-to-goodness type, trainer Lee Freedman is plotting a course which could lead Excelling into the big races coming up in the final quarter of the year. Like the Lion City Cup. To be run on Oct 25, it is already on his agenda.
Will we see another lion-hearted performance?
Indeed, it looks like the gloves are off. After all, the horses who filled the next five places in the trial might also see action in the Lion City Cup.
They are Nowyousee, Fame Star, Eye Guy, Skywalk and Grand Koonta.