Powell steers Wonderful to five in a row
Yesterday's Kranji round-up
To many on course at Kranji yesterday, he was the second best in the "main event" - the $100,000 Longevity Stakes. Favourtism belonged to Distinctive Darci.
But it sat fine with WONDERFUL, who was the third pick - and jockey John Powell.
Wonderful had a point to prove. He already put together a "four-bagger" and victory in the sprint would cement his worth.
So it was. Having just his first start this season, the Shane Baertschiger-trained youngster showed us just how good he was when he tracked the lead and - yet again - won the race in the shades of the winning post.
Full credit to the runner-up Constant Justice but, truth be told, even if the race were run again, he would still have had to play bridesmaid.
Wonderful, who was my top pick in the race, would win by a head and pay $24 for the win. Not bad at all for a sprinter who now has "five-in-a-row".
As for the crowd favourite Distinctive Darci, he ran a big race but was found wanting at the business end of things. He finish fifth.
That said, keep an eye on another son of Darci Brahma. DARC BOUNTY. If yesterday's Race 2 was a test of his mettle and Vlad Duric's reinsmanship, the pair finished top of the class.
The three-year-old looked to be the medium of an informed plunge and, at barrier rise, he was the second pick in the 10-horse field. As it turned out, he never gave his followers any cause for concern.
Out of the chute like a good 'un, he stuck close to the early leader Grey Falcon and made his move in the stretch when the "Falcon" began to get the staggers. Darc Bounty would eventually win by seven lengths.
It was his first appearance in a race since finishing fifth to Eclair Flash in July last year.
To have blitzed his rivals the way he did was a feather in the cap of his trainer, Stephen Gray.
While Gray wasn't at Kranji yesterday - he was in New Zealand picking out more youngsters for his yard - the significance of the win wasn't lost on the race presenters.
Indeed, even as Darc Bounty was 100m from the prize, the caller reminded us that it was going to be Gray's 600th winner in Singapore.
As if to knock home the fact that it was a landmark victory, the "Gray Yard" sent out winner No. 601 in the very next race with GOLDEN CURL.
This was the second leg of a "golden quartet". GOLDEN MILE won the opener, GOLDEN CURL the third, GOLDEN KINGDOM the next and GOLDEN TOMAHAWK took Race 10.
Gong Zi Fa Cai...quite definitely.