The winners have been few and far between for former champion trainer Alwin Tan in recent years.
But a recent surge of form seems to have gained further traction with a double on Saturday.
A paltry record of three winners by the first quarter of the current season was a far cry from his halcyon days of 2016, when he claimed his only Singapore champion trainer’s title.
It does not help that he does not have star tenants like Infantry, El Padrino and Speedy Cat filling his boxes these days.
Worse, half of the boxes are empty.
But, in the space of a week, Tan has doubled his score in one fell swoop.
If some thought Revolution’s win the previous week was a flash in the pan, it was in hindsight a fitting name just one week later.
Granted, Tan might have fluked it again with “extreme” $283 outsider Super Extreme’s stunning win in the $20,000 Open Maiden over 1,200m with veteran Malaysian jockey Saifudin Ismail on board.
But Atlantean ($52) bouncing back to form in the $30,000 Class 5 Division 2 race over 1,200m two races later, with jockey Koh Teck Huat astride could not be happenstance any more.
Never coy to talk about his struggles to keep his business afloat, Tan was, however, not reading too much into the sudden spike.
“Those horses have been racing for a while and have experience. It’s good they are finally picking up, maybe they have dropped to the right grade, too,” he said.
“Times are tough, we don’t have much depth in the yard. But we’ll make do with what we have and hope we can have our fair share of winners here and there.”
The initial shock of seeing long- shot Super Extreme come from the inside with a sudden burst to score has now given way to hope.
“He used to miss the start a lot and he has been practising at the barriers many times,” said Tan.
“I expected him to run better, as he has improved a lot at the barriers.
“But I still had no confidence, as he still had not shown me anything.
“I told the owners they could only hope he could run a good race as it was a small field.
“But, from the way he quickened in the straight, it’s clear he has ability.
“Maybe the winkers the first time helped him. He was again a bit slow, but it wasn’t as bad.
“The owners are very nice people and have supported me a lot. Mr Andre Lim (of Super Easy fame) is the one who bought the horse.
“Because of Covid-19, they had to be patient. We had to spend a lot of time with such horses – and I’m glad their long wait has paid off.”
Saifudin, who won aboard Revolution and the Hideyuki Takaoka-trained Twelfth Night last week, was not left out in Tan’s post-race thank you’s.
“Saifudin knows this horse very well. I told him to just position him nicely up the straight and try his best to win the race,” said Tan.
“He’s very experienced. Every morning, he works some horses for me, I rely a lot on his judgment.”
The Malaysian hoop, who turned 54 last Wednesday, can certainly tap into a wealth of experience. But he modestly put his own rich vein of form down to luck.
“I’m very lucky. I’m very thankful for the support from Alwin and his owners,” said the birthday boy.
“This horse trialled very good and his work has been very good. I expected him to improve.
“On the long course, I was hoping he could come from behind. I stayed on the inside and we were very lucky.”
At the rear after yet another tardy start, the Dissident three-year-old looked a forlorn hope.
But a saloon passage in the home straight saw him deny infected fetlock survivor Commodore (Marc Lerner) a fairytale comeback.