On the day and as it turned out, there could have been nothing but praise for Istataba’s effort in the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic earlier this month.
She was sent out as the dreamer’s choice. One for the adventurous. A $255 longshot.
Well, as we now know, Istataba pulled something out of the hat which must have surprised all and sundry.
She ran second to Golden Monkey and, from being that dreamer’s choice, she is now – in many notebooks – a filly with a future.
Trainer Michael Clements must certainly think so.
She was his flag-bearer in the $150,000 sprint over 1,400m and she covered herself with glory.
She gets her chance to show off her talent in Sunday’s race over the mile and, in preparation for that assignment, Clements sent her out for a spot of work on the training track.
With bang-in-form apprentice Ibrahim Mamat doing the steering on a drizzly morning, Istataba did not put a hoof wrong when covering the 600m in 38.8sec. Clements would have been pleased.
He has entered eight runners for Sunday’s action and the filly will be one of his main chances.
Some may wave a red flag and wonder if the mile might just be a tad too long for her – especially since she is still a three-year-old.
That is a legitimate concern but Istataba is not renowned for her speed and her bloodline, which traces back to Galileo on the sire’s side, says she can manage the trip.
We shall see.
An Argentinian-bred, she had one trial before being sent to the races last September. Although showing her inexperience, she still ran second to No More Delay in a 1,200m event.
Following that, she had some serious “education” and was sent to the trials four times before Clements decided she was good enough to race.
That day in late February, she was doing her best work late when second to The Bullet over the 1,000m. All were in agreement that she would be better over further.
The next month saw Istataba open her Kranji account, narrowly beating the talented Deception over the 1,200m.
She had three more runs leading to that huge second behind Golden Monkey earlier this month.
It would have topped her off sufficiently for Sunday. Let us see if the mile is, indeed, her cup of tea.
In Ablest Ascend, Clements could – like he did last Sunday – put together another double for the day.
Ablest Ascend would have rested well after having two gallops yesterday morning.
The four-time winner clocked 42sec for his first romp over the 600m before turning on the style to run the next in 35sec.
An Australian-bred by Charm Spirit, Ablest Ascend has not had a good 2022. His three runs have hardly been worth a mention but – and to his credit – he won a trial in fine fashion some three weeks ago.
It could mean he is ready to ring in his first win of the year.
He goes over the flying 1,000m this weekend when he takes on horses like The Bullet, Basilisk, Lim’s Passion and Rocketship. The challenge looks formidable.
But the 1,000m is Ablest Ascend’s favoured trip.
Three of his four wins have been over the scurry and, if he breaks clean and sprints clear, the rest might find themselves having dirt kicked back in their faces.
Ablest Ascend is due for another win and his work on the training track does seem to suggest he might be getting there.
Yesterday’s gallops by horses engaged at Kranji on Sunday:
KRANJI STAKES A – 1,400M
Spirit Of Big Bang H 38.8. Sacred Rebel H 34.7.
Stenmark (S. Jamil) 38.6.
CLASS 4 – 1,600M
Istataba (M. Ibrahim) H 38.8. Bingo Master 36.4.
CLASS 4 (1) – 1,400M
Fortune Changer H 45.8. Axel H (Jamil) 40.4.
Lucky Imperator 40.7. Straight N Arrow 42/35.
Billy Elliot H (R. Stewert) 38.8.
Deception (K. Hakim) 34.7.Ima H (W.H. Kok) 35.7.
Red Dragon (K. A’Isisuhairi) 38.9.
CLASS 4 (2) – 1,400M
Wealth Elite 37.2. Our Pinnacle H (L. Beuzelin) 39.1.
Legacy Fortune 36.9. Griffin H (I. Saifudin) 36.4.
Metal World 42.8. Chivalric Knight 36.2.
Champagne Finale 37.6.
CLASS 4 – 1,000M
Ablest Ascend H 42/35.
Rocketship H (T. Krisna) 39.2. The Bullet H 40.1.
Basilisk pace work. Hyde Park (P.H. Seow) 39.5.
CLASS 5 – 1,800M
Whistle Grand H (C.C. Wong) 37.4.
Tavi Will Do H (Beuzelin) 39.3.
King’s Speech (M. Lerner) 39.5.
CLASS 5 – 1,400M
Malibu Beach H (B. Pinhero) 37.3.
Sun Ace (Saifudin) barrier/38.
Exceed Natural H 42.4. Auspicious Day 35.8.
Anyway (Hakim) 35.7. Sunday 39.4.
Flying Yellow 36.8. Happy Heart 37.4.
CLASS 5 (1) – 1,200M
Nate’s Champion H 40.5.
Northern Sun 37.1
CLASS 5 (2 ) – 1,200M
Gamely H (F. Yusoff) 35.8.
Beauty Spirit 35.8.
Anpanman H (Wong) 39.
Burgundy Lad H (A’Isisuhairi) 37.1.
Global Spirit canter/45.9.
CLASS 5 – 1,100M
Captain Singapore (Wong) 42.2.
Rahotu H 35.8. Retallica H 37.7.
Super Talent H canter/44.2.
OPEN MAIDEN – 1,400M
Missile Rain (T.H. Koh) 39.8.
Chipmunks H 39.1. Rusty Rust (Saifudin) 40.5.
Montana Flash (Hakim) 37.1.
Engine Start H (N Zyrul) 39.8.
Narzar (Koh) 40.7.
RESTRICTED MAIDEN – 1,600M
Liebestraum H (Wong) 39.3.
Mariana Trench 38.5.
Knight Command H (Pinheiro) canter/42.4.
Chosen One canter/43.7.
Nineoneone (A’Isisuhairi) 36.2. Cash Cheque 39.1.
Street Of Dreams (M. Zaki) barrier/38.2.