It sure came as a big surprise last Saturday when Kranji’s leading jockey Manoel Nunes came down to earth without a winner for the first time this year.
This, despite the three-time Singapore champion riding many fancied runners among his nine rides.
But his best results were a second and three thirds. Nothing seemed to go right for him that day; no matter how hard he tried.
But you cannot keep a champion down, they say.
The Brazilian has a similar number of mounts today and I am pretty sure he will bounce back – with a big bang. I am confident of at least three: Big Green Hat in Race 2, Dancing Light in the following event and Wawasan in Race 8.
All three horses are going into their Polytrack 1,000m races in top form. They worked with gusto in their final gallops on Wednesday morning.
The Shane Baertschiger-trained Big Green Hat has yet to win from nine starts but he has been consistently running good races.
He has two seconds and three thirds. He came closest in his last start over the Polytrack 1,200m on April 9. With Oscar Chavez astride, he had to race wide without cover after jumping from Gate 9.
He responded to Chavez’s riding in the straight and hit the front 200m out. But he found no answer to the stronger Super Incredible, going down by just half a length.
Today he will also be in another weak $20,000 Maiden event. The trip will be 200m shorter but he is a lot sharper, as evidenced by his Wednesday gallop.
It was Nunes who was aboard – to get a feel of his mount. Should he cross in beautifully from Gate 10, probably only luck can deny him and horse of success.
The Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Dancing Light has all the ticks for his second victory from four starts.
The all-the-way debut winner over the Poly 1,100m has drawn favourably in Gate 2, has a handy 53.5kg and won his trial for today’s $50,000 race for Class 4 Div 2 gallopers.
Forget his second-up seventh in another Class 4 race, which was on turf. He was probably a victim of the second-run syndrome.
His next run yielded a nice third in a strong Novice event over 1,200m, also on turf.
The fighting-fit Australian-bred three-year-old reverts to the Poly and he should waltz his way home from the word “go”.
The Desmond Koh-trained Wawasan, who found one to beat in his last two starts, richly deserves another success in the $30,000 Class 5 Div 1 event.
Nunes has partnered the horse four times for two seconds and two thirds. He should know his mount like the back of his hand by now.
His other mount I made first choice is the Fitzsimmons-trained last-start winner Hero in the $50,000 Class 4 event in Race 9.
If not for the fact that he is jumping from 1,600m to his first attempt over 2,000m – worse, with the 58.5kg top weight – he would also get my vote of confidence.
To me, the horse was the best worker I saw on Tuesday and Wednesday.