Yet again, Hakim opens the show
Kranji's leading rider snares early double on Sun Ace and No More Delay
Like it was at the races two Saturdays ago. And, for good measure, the Saturday before that, flashy apprentice Hakim Kamaruddin got the action at Kranji going in the manner that we have now come to expect.
Kranji's leading rider - among seniors and claimers - steered Sun Ace to an all-the-way victory in the opening event over the tricky 1,600m on grass.
It was a milestone victory - his 50th for the season. It was vintage Hakim who took the lead at the "off" and never gave it back. Trained by Desmond Koh, it was Sun Ace's second win in 26 starts.
It was in the opening event on Sept 18 that Hakim scored on the Mark Walker-trained Brutus. He did it in almost similar fashion, stealing the lead at barrier rise and cheekily keeping all challengers at arm's length.
However, it was done differently when he claimed the opening race on Sept 11. That day, when astride Street Party, he brought his mount home from midfield to score by a neck.
Hakim has his detractors who reckon that he, being an apprentice, is NOT Singapore's top jockey even though the numbers tell a positive story.
But they were made to eat their words when the 23-year-old took the second event on No More Delay.
From Daniel Meagher's yard, the three-year-old son of Zoustar opened his Kranji account on his third try.
Again, all credit to Hakim who rode a patient race. He brought his mount to the front a furlong from home and held off Istataba to win by half a length.
For the record, the showing by the runner-up was full of merit. A filly racing in the colours of the Al Rashid connections, she was all strut, style and swagger on his way to the start.
Punters took notice and backed her down to third favourite on debut.
On the day, however, she found one to beat. But it was a powerful statement of intent. On that showing, she must go into your little black book as a horse to follow.
What's in a name? Plenty, if you happen to answer to Mesmerizing - with a Z, that is.
Having his first outing for trainer Leslie Khoo, he put up a - well - mesmerising show over the mile.
Ridden by Wong Chin Chuen, he took the lead on settling but gave it up at the 600m mark, when he allowed Golden Tiger to lead the procession into the straight. For a while there, it looked like he had run out of petrol. But how wrong we were.
With 250m to travel, Mesmerizing came alive again. Right there, he had the race signed, sealed and delivered. Although, sweating profusely, he stretched out to take the honours by almost five lengths.
You could say, on the day, Mesmerizing was pitch perfect. Everything went right on debut.
The jump-out was good. The run along the back stretch was trouble-free. And, when Wong asked him to go, he accelerated like all good horses should.
Still an entire, he can only get better. Khoo would be pleased to have him in his yard.