Strong N Smart eyes Singapore 3YO Sprint
The Group 3 feature in two weeks' time is now the next target for the Leslie Khoo-trained back-to-back winner
The $110,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m in two weeks' time now beckons the vastly improved Strong N Smart, after his back-to-back victory at Kranji on Saturday.
The Leslie Khoo-trained New Zealand-bred scored a commanding win in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1,200m on turf in a smart 1min 10.08sec.
This came just three weeks after he got off the mark with a nose success in a strong $75,000 Novice race over the same trip.
But the brown gelding by Per Incanto was even more impressive on Saturday from the way he romped home unextended.
Benefiting from an economical run on the fence in midfield, Strong N Smart always had stablemate First Choice (apprentice jockey Iskandar Rosman) in his sights three pairs back.
He just had to switch out for his charge to the line when Valorous (Oscar Chavez) took the first run to go and collar First Choice.
The rest was a piece of cake.
Under Chavez's urgings, Valorous shot clear, but Strong N Smart made him look second-rate when he powered past easily under jockey Danny Beasley for a 2 ¼-length victory.
Valorous held on gallantly for second, half a length in front of First Choice.
The rest of the field never had a look-in in the fairly fast 1,200m race on the narrow Short Course D.
Khoo has logically locked in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint on June 27 as Strong N Smart's next target.
But he doubts Beasley will stay on the ride. The Australian is unlikely to jump off three-from-three hero Lim's Kosciuszko.
"I will ask Danny, even if I know he's on Dan Meagher's three-year-old. Or else, I will have to find another jockey," said the former top jockey.
"I'll run him in the Sprint, and we'll see how he goes. I think the 1,400m of the next race shouldn't be a problem either."
He was referring to the $150,000 Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m on July 18.
As the Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m has been dropped this year, the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge is by default not in contention.
Khoo has now prepared Strong N Smart to his two wins from only three starts under his care since taking over from fellow Singaporean trainer Kuah Cheng Tee.
The veteran handler took such a shine to the horse he even decided to buy him from his previous owner.
"I've always liked Per Incanto. He's also a popular sire in Hong Kong. I've got Grand Fighter by him. He won on debut for me and ran a nice race at his last start," said Khoo.
"But I also bought him because I thought he had some ability. Today, he was fitter and had more confidence after his first win, and he won very well."
Strong N Smart has taken his race record to two wins and two seconds from 10 starts. He has won more than $105,000 in prize money.
The horse was Khoo's eighth winner of the season.