Quite often, it pays to follow class droppers. One such horse to note is last Saturday’s quartet hero Jason Ong’s King Zoustar.
The trainer of the moment has brought the six-year-old Australian-bred back to winning shape for a tilt at tomorrow’s $30,000 Class 5 Division 1 event over the Polytrack 1,200m in Race 5 (2pm) at Kranji.
After eight starts in Class 4 for a win, a third and two fourths, he is back in Class 5 as one of the three topweights carrying 59kg.
A five-time winner from 40 starts – four over the Poly 1,200m including one in Class 4 – the chestnut gelding put his hands up with his impressive trial success last week. He followed it up with a good hit-out on Wednesday.
Leading jockey Manoel Nunes was on board on both occasions.
I was very impressed that I have made him my top choice.
Nunes also likes King Zoustar’s preparation but the three-time Singapore champion noted the small but strong field.
“He trialled good. He also had a good piece of pace work on Wednesday. I’m happy with him, but I am worried about his weight – 59kg on his back,” said the Brazilian, who has streaked to a big lead in the premiership table with 35 winners, 17 ahead of Australian Danny Beasley.
“I won’t say my horse is sure to win, but he should run a good race. He worked well and Jason Ong’s stable is flying.”
Nunes added that it might be a small field of only nine horses, but it is a competitive one. He can only keep his fingers crossed.
“Of course, we have got to respect some of the horses here, like Beer Garden. He won impressively last week, even though the 1,000m was too short.
“Knight Love, this horse also drops a class. Northern Sun, he’s very consistent and ran a good race last time.
“Helushka may find it a bit short but he ran second the last two starts. Super Six won his race last start and, Circuit Star, I rode and won on him last time.
“Hopefully, my horse can run well.”
Nunes sounded more sanguine about last-start runner-up Siam Royal Orchid, my best bet (see preview and race card in The Sunday Times tomorrow).
The Michael Clements-trained four-time winner lost to Big Tiger by just a short head on March 19 but is meeting his conqueror on 1½kg better terms.
He has also drawn better – in Gate 1, compared to Gate 9 last time.
“He’s definitely the one to beat. Hopefully, his draw will help us. Last time, I had a bad draw. I had to push him all the way through,” said Nunes.
“Actually, the Polytrack, sometimes draw one is good, but sometimes also bad. This is because if you’re stuck inside, you have to let the horse come from behind.
“But, if your horse doesn’t have a good turn of foot, it’s a bit tricky. But I hope this will not be the case on Sunday.
“The horse is in good form. I also expect him to run a good race. Probably my danger should be First Bowl and Big Tiger, who beat me last time. But I will carry 1kg more and he has 2½kg more. Hope we can change the position.”
All in, Nunes has secured nine good rides tomorrow.