Man of the moment does it at the trials, Latest Racing News

Like his illustrious countrymen, so feared on the football pitch, Manoel Nunes has not unlaced his scoring boots.

After picking up four winners at last Saturday’s second meeting of the season, the Brazilian allowed his form to carry over to the trials.

Held at Kranji on Tuesday morning, three of the four hit-outs belonged to him.

Yes, his scoring form has not waned. If anything, he seems even more determined to add another jockeys’ title to the three he has already in the bag.

Nunes was champion jockey from 2014 to 2016.
While we all know that “wins” at trials count for nothing if those victories cannot be carried forward to the actual races – where they really matter – but it was still great to see Nunes in full flow.

First off for him in the opening trial of the morning was Nate’s Honour.

From Tim Fitzsimmon’s barn where we expect to see Nunes get the plum rides this season, Nate’s Honour provided the jockey with a nice launch pad.
Jumping cleanly, he tracked Xiyou – who was having an Official Race Trial – all the way to the furlong mark.

And when Xiyou’s rider Oscar Chavez threw in the towel, Nunes pounced. Urging Nate’s Honour into overdrive, the six-year-old found the front and Nunes had the “win” in the bag.

Nate’s Honour beat Bingo Master – the mount of Shafiq Rizuan – by half a length, with Xiyou holding down third spot. 

The winner clocked a modest 62.31sec for the 1,000m.

Nate’s Honour, who is a humble Class 5 campaigner, had a nice second half of last season, scoring twice in August and October.

As long as he remains in Class 5, he must always be treated with respect.

Next up for Nunes was Sahabat. Another gem from trainer Michael Clements’ stock, Sahabat was at the trials by order of the racing stewards. He had returned from his last start suffering from respiratory “distress”.

That day, on Nov 20, when sent off as the $9 raging favourite, Sahabat was a huge disappointment.
Ridden by Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, he managed to beat just one home.

The stewards needed an explanation, especially since Sahabat had compounded in the straight and had “weakened noticeably” over the final 200m.

The 1,000m gallop was what they ordered, before allowing Sahabat to race again.

Well, we know how that went on Tuesday morning. In a word, fabulously.

Nunes had him out of the chute like a charm and there he stayed.

It did not make a difference that he was widest when they fanned out for the run home.

Nunes just let him do his thing – and had him eased up over only the final 100m.

Still, Sahabat put five lengths between himself and second-placed Te Akau Ben, a new registration with trainer Donna Logan. Sahabat clocked 61.15sec.

Still a four-year-old, he is a work in progress. He has had just six starts and has won twice. He served notice of his intentions when he won a smart trial in early November.

That day, when ridden by Beuzelin, he traded blows with Mortal Engine and eventually won the duel by about half a length.

Knowing just how good Mortal Engine is, the connections of Sahabat will be expecting big things from their charge during the season.

The Brazilian got his third “winner” when Crystal Warrior won the final trial in a canter.

Jumping from Gate Five, he motored to the front at the 300m mark and left the rest to chase his shadow. 

The “man of the moment” could not have asked for an easier way to end proceedings.

Tuesday’s Kranji barrier trial results

1 Nate’s Honour (M Nunes)
2 Bingo Master (R Shafiq)
3 Xiyou ORT (O Chavez)
Margins and time: 1/2, 43/4 
(1 min 02.31 sec)

1 Sahabat (Nunes)
2 Te Akau Ben NR (CC Wong)
3 Super Speed (K A’isisuhairi)
4 Mr Hooper Stall (I Saifudin)
5 Ima Stall (WH Kok)
Margins and time: 5, 11/4, 1/2, 20 (1:01.15)

1 Katak (D Beasley)
2 Makkem Lad (F Yusoff)
3 Limited Edition (R Shafiq)
4 Circuit Mission (A’isisuhairi)
5 Thunder (Nunes)
6 Who Loves Bae (K Faiz)
7 Silent Partner (M Lerner)
Margins and time: 2, 11/4, ns, hd, 3, 2 

1 Crystal Warrior (Nunes)
2 Master Ryker
3 Mister Dynamo (M Zaki)
4 Miracle
5 Beyond Sacred (M Akmazani)
6 Mandrake (Lerner)
7 Buddy Buddy (A’isisuhairi)
8 Northern Star (TH Koh)
Margins and time: 4, shd, 11/4, 1/2, 2, 1/2, 11/2 (1:01.25)

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