Former handy three-year-old Strong N Smart bounced back to his best form with an explosive last-to-first win at Kranji on Saturday.
Things, however, looked hairy for the $8 hotpot at the top of the straight when he cornered into the back of a fortress of horses, but as he found clean air on the outside of Buraaq (Oscar Chavez), a run to the judge quickly unfolded, and it soon became just a matter of when the Leslie Khoo-trained son of Per Incanto would sail home.
The well-backed Royalty (Koh Tech Huat) had every chance when he struck the front in the straight, but had no answer to Strong N Smart’s burst. One length split them in the photo with the same margin holding Eagle Eye (Hakim Kamaruddin) in third spot.
Strong N Smart (Danny Beasley) scores a last-to-first win in Race 3, picture Singapore Turf Club
Strong N Smart clocked 1min 9.93secs for the 1200m on the Long Course of the $50,000 Debt Collector 2018 Stakes Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m. That third win has now seen his account swell past the $135,000 mark for Khoo, who is his owner as well.
The facetious Singaporean handler couldn’t help himself to a bit of colourful language in describing his state of mind at the point of the turn.
“My b**** went up,” said Khoo. “I thought he couldn’t win from there.
“But Danny (Beasley) rode a very patient race. The gap came up and the Long Course also helped.”
Khoo said the short break after Strong N Smart’s unplaced run in the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) in June has helped furnish him out into a stronger individual.
“He’s come back stronger after the break. I’ve been building him up, he had a nice quiet trial two weeks ago,” he said.
Though all three victories have come in six-furlong turf races, Khoo said he would like to step him up over more ground.
“I think he’ll be even better over a longer trip. I’ll look for a 1400m race for him at some stage,” he said.