Pax Animi catches the eye
The best from the trials held on Tuesday monring
When can a racehorse run third and yet be declared a "winner"? The answer: Only at the trials.
And that's exactly what happened at the third of four trials at Kranji on Tuesday morning.
Pax Animi, an intriguing four-year-old, ran third behind Luck Of Friendship and Showbound but to all who witnessed the trial, it was the performance of the morning.
Ridden by Michael Rodd and jumping from the chute nearest to the paint, Pax Animi had just one behind him when the field made that sweeping turn on the far side.
Out in front, Luck Of Friendship (Noh Senari) and Alysha Collett's mount, Showbound, were going at it hammer and tongs.
Where was Pax Animi? He seemed to be in a coma and it was only when they had straightened that Rodd woke him from his slumber.
Peeled to the outside and given a flick of the reins, the big bay gelding decided to race and suddenly, from being right out of it, Pax Animi was right in the mix and flying home on the extreme outside.
To get ahead of Luck Of Friendship and Snowbound was too much to ask.
But the fact that he finished less than two lengths behind the winner - when he was, at one stage, 15 lengths in arrears - was a super impressive showing.
It was like the time when he opened his Kranji account.
That day in mid-November when making his Kranji debut, Pax Animi had just two behind him for most of the 1,200m trip.
But after they had straightened, he made up some ground to hold a midfield spot halfway down the stretch.
Unknown to the rest, he was beginning to rev up and, when he did get going, the run was fluid and he coasted in by 11/2 lengths.
Promoted to Class 3 at his next start, he came up against a good one in Ironside and had to settle for second spot.
Two runs for a win as a second. Sure, it could have been better but, from what we have seen of the Cliff Brown-trained gelding, the best is yet to come.
Also on Tuesday morning, Sacred Rebel lived up to his rating of 90 by beating Minister (72 points) and Sacred Judgement (64) by three parts of a length.
From champion trainer Mark Walker's yard, Sacred Rebel came off his spot just behind the leading pair, to barrel home a comfortable winner.
He clocked 60.74sec for the trip.
Sacred Rebel scored four wins mid-season last year then, at his next four starts, he seemed flat.
Indeed, at his last start on Jan 31, he was up on the pace until just before the home turn.
Champion jockey Vlad Duric, who rode him that day, said Sacred Rebel dropped the bit at the 700m mark and, because he was "concerned about the gelding's action", he did not put him under any undue pressure.
The club's vets ordered that Sacred Rebel pass a 1,000m gallop before being allowed to race again.
He passed that test on Tuesday morning and the path is cleared for him to race again. It will be his 13th race start. It just might be lucky for him.
Tuesday’s Kranji barrier trial results
TRIAL 1 (ORT)
1 Heavenly Dancer (V Duric)
2 Gold Rush (M Rodd)
3 Theodore (M Lerner)
4 Supreme Fighter (A Collett)
5 Coloniel Star
Margins and time: 31/4, 3, 21/2, nk, 21/2 (1min 1.34sec)
1 Sacred Rebel
2 Minister (R Maia)
3 Sacred Judgement
4 Sun Sniper (J Powell)
5 Yitai Loyalty (D Moor)
6 Larry (L Beuzelin)
Margins and time: 3/4, 11/4, 23/4, hd, 11/2 (1:00.74)
1 Luck Of Friendship (S Noh)
2 Showbound (Collett)
3 Pax Animi (Rodd)
4 King Zoustar (Maia)
5 Eastiger (P Moloney)
6 Yulong Jazz (JP van der Merwe)
7 Sun Princeps (CC Wong)
Margins and time: Hd, 11/2, 1/2, 11/4, ns, 19 (1:01.42)
1 Tom Cat (Merwe)
2 Forever Good (J See)
3 Shine Almighty (M Lerner)
4 Where She's Happy (Rodd)
7 Eunos Ave Three
Margins and time: Ns, 11/4, 1, 2, 2, 51/2 (1:02.28)