At first glance, the brilliant Lim’s Kosciuszko is the one they will all have to beat in Saturday’s Class 2 sprint over the 1,200m.
He ticks all the boxes and, some may even go as far as to say, it is a one-horse race.
But, in this sport, there is never such a thing.
And fantastic as he has been at Kranji where he has won six in a row, Lim’s Kosciuszko will again have to bring his “A” game to the races – if he is to hold back the challengers.
Among those opposing him will be the three “Stars” – Rocket Star, Fame Star and Gold Star.
While Lim’s Kosciuszko limbered up with a spot of cantering on the training track yesterday morning, the opposition went about their business in serious fashion.
Rocket Star had Krisna Thangamani in the saddle when running the 600m in 39.3sec.
Fame Star and Gold Star were also given solid work, running the trip in 39.8sec and 39.2sec respectively. All looked in good order.
Rocket Star is truly one of the stars in Ricardo le Grange’s yard, with four wins and nine seconds from 18 starts.
At his last race, he failed to throw in a punch.
But there were excuses.
The race, won by Mr Malek, was over the mile and, as expected, Rocket Star was found wanting.
He eventually finished sixth, four lengths behind the winner.
We know he is better than that and, over the sprint trip on Saturday, we should see his true self.
Le Grange has spaced out Rocket Star’s runs, allowing the son of Star Witness plenty of rest in between races.
Indeed, if one is to look for his last win, you will have to go all the way back to July 11, 2020.
In itself, it was an auspicious day as that was when racing resumed after a three-month break due to the pandemic.
That day, Rocket Star was in his element, beating Chalaza by four lengths in a Class 4 sprint over the 1,200m.
Well, that was that. Now is now. And in April last year, he turned in a good show when running second to Lim’s Lightning in the Lion City Cup.
On Saturday, Rocket Star will be having his first start for the new season. Expect him to run a big race.
Fame Star has also been winless for a long while. Indeed, the last time he greeted the judge was two years ago. And coming on Feb 15, it was almost to the day.
In recent times, this out-and-out front runner has tried to steal his races with an early breakaway. But has been caught in the run to the line.
At his last outing, on Nov 27, he ran third to Celavi in the Merlion Trophy race.
He deserves a break and, this weekend, he could be the one trading blows with Lim’s Kosciuszko early in that $80,000 contest.
Gold Star will also be having his first start of the season.
At his last outing, he was fourth in the “Merlion” but he won a good trial just last week. Coming from the in-form stable of Tim Fitzsimmons, he could be another one trying to throw a spanner into Lim’s Kosciuszko’s bid for an incredible seven in a row.
Elsewhere on the undercard, War Commander and Sand Box served notice of a Le Grange one-two in Saturday’s Novice race over the 1,400m.
Sent out together for a spot of work, they pounded the track to run the 600m in 37.4sec.
Manoel Nunes did the steering on War Commander.
A big chestnut who tips the scales in the mid-500kg mark, War Commander will be shooting for two from two – and it is not beyond him.
Having won on debut, beating Blazing Kid by a nose in a fighting finish, he was given an easy time at the trials last week, finishing third behind Knight’s Love.
If anything, he appears to be in even better condition and could have the “Novice” event at his mercy.