Race 2 at Kranji last night saw two impressive trial-winning newcomers cross swords from the first bell.
No Fun No Gain opened as the favourite but Mach took over the betting market briefly, before the former jumped as the $15 favourite with the latter at $17.
The duo took their feud to the race and the Stephen Gray-trained No Fun No Gain came up tops with a gutsy victory from the Steven Burridge-trained Mach in the $85,000 Restricted Maiden event over 1,200m on turf. The winner clocked a smart 1min 10.33sec first-up, purely on raw ability.
Those who took stock of last Sunday's debut winner Fire Away were laughing all the way to the bank. The Lee Freedman-trained charge had finished a 31/2-length second to No Fun No Gain in his trial, so the form was franked.
Ridden by jockey Daniel Moor, No Fun No Gain jumped well but others were quicker to the front. But No Fun No Gain pulled up on the outside to shade Shamarman and Sothistheone at the 800m mark. They were followed by debut beaten favourite Trapio and Mach.
No Fun No Gain kicked ahead from the 700m mark and straightened up nicely. Jockey Glen Boss brought Mach through between horses to challenge No Fun No Gain 200m out. Mach got to about half a length of his rival but that was as near as he could get. The winner was in an uncompromising mood.
Gray said he was a bit nervous as his charge was a bit colty and naughty, so the plan was to ride the horse a bit quiet from gate 9, then to lead, and go through the gears.
"But he jumped so good and Daniel probably had no choice, so he's a really nice horse. Quite excited about him," said the Kiwi.
Moor went into the race optimistic as he reckoned No Fun No Gain's work was exemplary but the horse was a bit stirred up during the race.
"Today, in the race, he got a bit jazzed up. There were a few horses in the race that were new as well and stirred him up," said the Australian rider. "I just had to let him go at a comfortable gallop and, when he got to the front, he stargazed and wanted to stop, so he's got a lot of education to come. I think, potentially, he's a nice horse."