Champion jockey Manoel Nunes may have solved the problem that has been besetting smart sprinter Nova Swiss for a while.
The Alwin Tan-trained Swiss Ace four-year-old has been mixing his form since tasting defeat for the first time back in March, ending his smashing unbeaten run of five-in-a-row.
Nunes, who was the jockey astride at his quintet of wins, has since jumped on and off, but has stuck solid at his last four starts, which included an encouraging second to Countofmontecristo in a Benchmark 97 race over 1200m on August 20.
The chestnut gelding seems to be in fine fettle on the outside, but something was bothering the Brazilian three-time Singapore champion jockey.
“I wasn’t happy with the way he kept switching his leads in trackwork. There was something which was not right with him,” said Nunes.
“I told Alwin and (assistant-trainer) Joe (D’Zulkifliy) about that and they had him checked. That’s when they discovered he had a stone bruise to his off-hind hoof.
“They had the bruise treated and it would seem he has come right since.”
“Coming right” was certainly the right word judging from the way Nova Swiss despatched his seven rivals with such ease in his barrier trial on Thursday.
Hard ridden to take the lead from his inside gate, Nova Swiss sped to a two-length lead before kicking clear in the home straight for a most impressive hit-out, stopping the clock at a sizzling 58.7 seconds. Among the beaten horses were the likes of Majestic Moments (second), Chopin’s Fantaisie (fifth) and Big Brother (sixth).
“I was very happy with that barrier trial. His action was good and when I asked him to kick in the straight, he responded very well,” said Nunes.
“Right now, there isn’t any race for him. I’ll leave that part to Alwin to decide but the horse is in very good form now.
“Hopefully, he can maintain it and reproduce the same form when he returns to the races.”
Meanwhile, Michael Clements’ assistant-trainer Michael White also had every reason to be smiling after Chopin’s Fantaisie’s blinker test under regular partner Vlad Duric.
“It was perfect. He worked very well with the blinkers on,” said White. -STC