Two ready for first wins
Whistle Grand, Smoke And Mirrors primed to shed their maiden's tag
Two maidens with form are the ones to follow at Kranji tonight and Sunday.
They are Whistle Grand in Race 4 and Smoke And Mirrors, also in Race 4, respectively.
The Leslie Khoo-trained Whistle Grand created a favourable impression first-up in Restricted Maiden over 1,200m on turf on June 30. He beat all but Bushido, who scored again last start in Class 4.
Whistle Grand started as an $11 favourite at his next start, over the same course and distance, but finished fourth to Field Marshal. His conqueror also won his next start in Novice company.
We can derive that Whistle Grand lost to good horses and he has demonstrated that he is set to be third-time lucky by winning two trials. He clocked a good time in both.
Tonight, the four-year-old New Zealand-bred is meeting only a moderate Open Maiden lot over 1,400m and he should have the measure over them.
Khoo has engaged apprentice jockey N Zyrul for the ride to utilise his 3kg allowance to bring Whistle Grand's handicapped weight down to 54.5kg.
Zyrul was praised by his just-retired mentor, Bruce Marsh, after he gave a "10-out-of-10" ride on 11-year-old Supernova last Sunday. The win provided Marsh a fitting farewell present with his favourite horse. The Kiwi returned to his native New Zealand on Tuesday night.
On Sunday, we turn our attention to trainer Lee Freedman's Smoke And Mirrors, who found one to beat in both starts.
On Aug 2, the three-year-old New Zealand-bred lost by three-quarter lengths to Bencoolen in Open Maiden over 1,200m.
Three weeks later, the bay gelding went over 1,400m in Restricted Maiden but found Iron Ruler too good. But he was not disgraced to be beaten by only half a length.
From his final gallop on Wednesday with race jockey John Powell astride, Smoke And Mirrors looked to have improved by leaps and bounds.
The addition of blinkers has last perked the horse up.
Smoke And Mirrors went great guns and pulled up wanting more. He has been well wound up for Sunday.