When trial winner Glengallon drew the widest gate in the field of 12, trainer Tan Kah Soon's confidence level must have gone down a few notches.
But the newcomer and $73 outsider overcame the setback with his high cruising speed to ride shotgun with the leader and then motored home to score a victory that suggested more is to come.
Racecaller Nicholas Child said Tan has unearthed a pretty handy type who is "destined for better and bigger things". One could not help but agree, judging by the way Glengallon whitewashed his rivals.
Ridden by New Zealand jockey Craig Grylls, Glengallon took the $85,000 Restricted Maiden (1) event over the flying 1,000m on the Polytrack in Race 2 at Kranji yesterday by 21/2 lengths from the fast-finishing Reign in 59.45sec.
One of the first to jump, Glengallon surged up at a rate of knots to cover the leader Navagio on settling down. The $9 favourite Grand Choice, who was resuming since his debut on Dec 1 last year, was parked in the box-seat third by jockey Barend Vorster. Then came My Win, Qiji Flyer and Evil Roadster.
Glengallon raced up to eyeball Navagio on straightening and then cruised to the front. From there, he travelled in total isolation and galloped to the post with little persuasion from his rider.
Trainer Tan reckoned Glengallon possesses a lot of natural ability. He credited his apprentice A Syahir, who is Glengallon's regular trackwork partner, for keeping the horse nice and calm, and Grylls for executing a job well done.
"Yeah, you know, he's got a lot of natural ability, really. Craig has done very well on him in two trials, just let him enjoy it and credit must go to Syahir. He rides him every morning, keeps him very quiet, which we want him to do," said Tan.
"We tried not to really set him alight. Before this race, we were a bit worried that he gets a bit keen in his race. We don't want him to do that, so we thought the 1,000m would be fine.
"But, when we got the draw, we were a bit concerned, but anyway he's done very well, so let's see where he goes from here and see how he pulls up."
Grylls agreed with racecaller-cum-presenter Thomas Wood that the Ascot Stable-owned Glengallon has "a decent engine" and that the three-year-old son of Highly Recommended could handle a longer distance.
"Yes, he does," said Grylls. "He had to do it a little hard from the wide draw. He sort of jumped really good and crossed in easily enough and travelled really good.
"You know, his last trial, which he won, he sort of flattened out and felt as though he hadn't got much more, but he really has got a high cruising speed, so I think he'll get more distance."
Jockey Michael Rodd was in sizzling form last night, bagging a hat-trick from three rides - Libeccio ($16) in Race 3, Tesoro Privado ($8) in Race 4 and Lonhro Gold ($9) in Race 5. His other nominated ride Nowyousee was scratched.
Friday's South Africa results Early Sunday Singapore scratchings
1st 2 Super Socks ($7-$5.10)
2nd 1 Ex Nihilo ($8)
3rd 6 Pollymania (No 3rd dividend)
4th 4 Western Rock
Place Forecast Refund
Scratching: 7 Press Release
1st 9 Green Sea ($9-$5.10)
2nd 7 Dettie ($22)
3rd 1 Angioletta ($9)
4th 6 Destiny's Child
Place Forecast (7-9) $15, (1-9) $6, (1-7) $29
Quartet No winner ($436 jackpot carried forward to next race)
Scratching: 4 Call Me Blue
1st 8 Light As A Feather ($36-$14)
2nd 3 Zalika ($5.10)
3rd 13 Petipa ($7)
4th 7 Fifth Of May
Place Forecast (3-8) $6, (8-13) $10, (3-13) $6
Quartet No winner ($564 carried forward)
Scratchings: 1 Straw Rum, 2 Money Buys Love, 10 Yes No Maybe
1st 11 Bikini Model ($51-$15)
2nd 9 Three Times A Lady ($16)
3rd 10 Sheema ($22)
4th 12 Joking Dice
Place Forecast (9-11) $57, (10-11) $55, (9-10) $49
Tierce No winner ($2,550 carried forward)
Quartet No winner ($764 carried forward)
Scratchings: 8 Jungle Fairy, 17 One Dimension, 18 Corker
1st 8 Free Agent ($66-$15)
2nd 5 Prospect Strike ($28)
3rd 4 Carbon Offset ($23)
4th 6 Paper Town
Place Forecast (5-8) $113, (4-8) $27, (4-5) $104
Quartet No winner ($3,550 carried forward)
1st 1 Beataboutthebush ($11-$7)
2nd 12 Smokey Affair ($39)
3rd 9 Maverick Girl ($20)
4th 7 Red Granite
Place Forecast (1-12) $41, (1-9) $12, (9-12) $79
Quartet No winner ($5,552 carried forward)
1st 3 Starflash ($91-$24)
2nd 5 Le Grand Rouge ($12)
3rd 4 Zevenastic ($5.10)
4th 7 Make It Count
Place Forecast (3-5) $31, (3-4) $13, (4-5) $9