Toosbies all primed for battle
The best from yesterday's trackwork at Kranji
He came close on a number of occasions - but he had to wait for his day in the sun. Until last month that is, when he finally broke through for a win.
He had beaten Magnum Force with the ease and efficiency of a hot knife through butter - and it was long overdue.
Now, as they say, with the monkey off his back - and I mean it with no tongue-in-cheek reference to any human who has ever ridden a horse - expect him to go on to bigger and better things.
Yes, Toosbies is in the zone. He's in his element and we saw it on the training track yesterday morning, when with Callan Murray doing the steering, he breezed over the 600m in 36.7sec. He was paced by stablemate Mighty Emperor who is a reserve in Race 5 on Sunday.
But back to Toosbies, it was a fluent piece of work from the three-year-old and his trainer, Ricardo Le Grange, must be beaming.
Toosbies began his Kranji racing career when still a two-year-old and after his first outing in July, his name would have been hastily scribbled on the back of many a racebook.
He had, that day, put up a gallant show over the 1,200m. With Barend Vorster in the saddle, he was parked off midfield but began to charge home 200m out. It was a two-horse battle but Mr Hooper had pinched a run a tad earlier and that made the difference.
Turning three, he should have put a win on the board in October but, in a tight finish, he lost the bob of the heads and had to play second fiddle to Just Landed.
Then came his day in the sun. It was his first outing in the new season - and his first win. As I see it, he will only get better.
It's an intriguing contest which Le Grange has picked out for his charge. He meets the likes of former larrikin Galvarino and class-dropper Lim's Knight in Race 3 on Sunday.
Toosbies won't have it easy but, you can bet, he will make it hard on the rest.
Also on Sunday but in a later race, Stay The Course gave the impression that he was ready to add one more win to his resume when he turned in a fine piece of work.
Ridden by John Powell and kept on his toes by stablemate Flak Jacket, Stay The Course pounded the ground, running the 600m in 38.3sec.
It wasn't the swiftest of gallops but, like they say, it's what the horse brings to the races which pays the bills and, to my mind, Stay The Course will bring a whole lot into Race 7.
In his three runs so far, the son of Epaulette has been an enigma. He will slouch around in the early part of his races - as if in a coma. Then, like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde he would - at the business-end of things - suddenly perk up, reinvent himself and run home.
We saw that happen two starts back. Unsighted and near last for most of the 1,400m trip, he opened up and just failed by a whisker to catch Storm To Win.
That was in January. But that slouch and spurt tactic paid off in his last start when, again over the 1,400m, he mowed down The Iceman to win going way by almost a length.
He tackles the mile on Sunday. The trip is right up his alley and a race-to-race double wouldn't surprise.