War Affair and QE II hopefuls strut their stuff at dawn
It wasn't the Trooping Of the Colours but, sure as ever, it was a "royal" morning at Kranji yesterday when no less than seven of the Queen Elizebeth II hopefuls stretched and strutted their stuff in preparation for their big date on Sunday.
There was last year's winner Laughing Gravy looking rather majestic. Former Horse Of The Year War Affair was also up at dawn.
Big-race winners Well Done and Quechua - who had Cup candiadte Pefect P for company - glistened, as did Jupiter Gold and the very-exciting Gilt Complex.
Given pride of place and carrying the No. 1 saddlecloth in the big race, WAR AFFAIR cantered one round with Danny Beasley in the saddle before upping the tempo to run the 600m in 39.8 seconds.
A last-start winner - and his 16th to boot - this six-year-old son of O'Reilly ticks all the boxes.
A gallant runner-up to Quechua in last year's Emirates Singapore Derby, he will have busloads of friends on track when he tackles the 1,800m.
Then there's WELL DONE. Wouldn't trainer David Kok love to see his galloper lift the Cup in the manner in which he did the Derby last July?
He showed yesterday that he wasn't lacking "fitness-wise" when he cleared the 600m in a smart 36.6sec. Manoel Nunes was the man in the saddle.
QUECHUA must always be given a say in a big race and the QE II Cup looks right up his alley.
From trainer Ricardo Le Grange's yard, he had stablemate PERFECT P alongside when the pair clocked 36.3sec on the turf.
OFF THE BOIL
Since running second to Debt Collector in the Raffles Cup last October, Quechua has been off the boil both here and abroad. However, he seems to be running into some kind of form and will have his entourage of fans.
Then there was the three-year-old JUPITER GOLD.
His "form figures" over his last seven outings have been spectacular. They read 2-1-1-1-1-3-2, the last "2" being that runner-up spot in the Singapore Guineas. That was over the mile and the added 200m on Sunday will hold no fear.
He looked in good order when clearing away from galloping companion Galaxy Express at the end of a 600m sprint in 36.2. Alan Munro did the steering.
Like Jupiter Gold, GILT COMPLEX has flawless recent form. Unplaced in just two from 21 stats, he was on Track 6 where he ran the 600m 38.1secs.
Finally, there's last year's runner-up LAUGHING GRAVY. He had Michael Rodd on the reins when running the 600m in 37.3sec - also on Track 6.
Since lifting the QE II Cup last June, we haven't heard a chuckle or seen a hint of a smile from the six-time winner. What a story it would be if he makes Sunday his coronation - yet again.