Derby hopeful Wonderful Paint enjoyed a casual spin around the tracks at the barrier trials on Tuesday, looking fit and ready to tackle his next mission.
The grey son of Darci Brahma was clearly not out to break any records as he flopped out from his barrier No 1 to settle at the rear for regular partner and No 1 fan Noh Senari.
Tesoro Privado ensured a solid tempo as he raced a touch keenly at the head of affairs, mouth agape, before dropping off in the home straight.
Friendship looked headed for victory until Gratus sprouted wings to blouse him out by a neck.
As for Wonderful Paint, he had obviously left his devastating turn of foot at the stables, happy to just tag along at the back for last place around four lengths off Gratus.
Nonetheless, Noh, Wonderful Paint’s winning partner at all his four wins (1600m, 1800m (2) and 2000m) from Open Maiden to Kranji Stakes C company in only eight starts, reiterated his fondness for the Leslie Khoo-trained galloper.
Even in the aftermath of his super impressive last-to-first win aboard another smart four-year-old in Glasgow in a Kranji Stakes C race over the mile on March 1, the current leading Singaporean jockey (only Vlad Duric ahead, two winners clear on 19) was not about to jump ship.
“Don’t get me wrong, both Wonderful Paint and Glasgow are two very good four-year-olds, but I still prefer Wonderful Paint because he has a character about him,” said Noh.
“Glasgow won impressively at his last start, but he is more straightforward push-button type of horse."
Noh said he never really touched Wonderful Paint in Tuesday’s hitout, which was to him and Khoo, a simple maintenance routine.
“I was really happy with his run this morning,” he said.
“He is a distance horse. I didn’t ask him to do too much, just keeping him ticking over.”
Khoo said the world was Wonderful Paint’s oyster, but still has it all left to do until his grand final among the four-year-olds, the Singapore Derby (1800m) on July 21.
“Today was just meant to be a quiet trial. There is a long way to go before the Derby,” said the Singaporean handler who has yet to win a local feature race since setting up shop at Kranji in 2008.
“There is a Kranji Stakes C race over 2000m in two weeks’ time (March 29) that will suit him. He needs to win a few more races before he makes it for the Derby.” -STC