Natural, not on impulse

Daniel Meagher-trained Natural Impulse scores comeback victory to pay even money

Natural Impulse (No. 3) scoring his fifth win from 34 starts in the opening race at Kranji last night. Showing three-figure odds at his five previous starts, he started a hot favourite and paid $10 for a win.
Natural Impulse (No. 3) scoring his fifth win from 34 starts in the opening race at Kranji last night. Showing three-figure odds at his five previous starts, he started a hot favourite and paid $10 for a win.ST PHOTO: SALWA SUANDI

Once again, the smart money was spot-on.

Eagle-eyed racegoers got the lolly as early as the first of eight races at Kranji last night, when six-year-old Natural Impulse scored a comeback victory in the Class 4 event over the flying 1,000m on the Polytrack.

Racecaller Thomas Wood said all the signs were there and even the man with his dog would jump on the bandwagon.

Yes, it was only natural, and not on impulse, to back a horse who had shown three-figure odds in his last five starts but became the medium of a heavy plunge last night. Surely, the winning form must be there. There is no smoke without fire.

Natural Impulse opened as the second favourite behind the Leslie Khoo-trained Invincible Man but was crunched late in the betting, plunging from $16 to $10 "in one hit", as Wood put it.

The Daniel Meagher-trained Australian-bred duly justified the confidence in him and rewarded his legion of fans with a three-quarter-length victory over Invincible Man, who drifted to $27 for a win.

It was the winner's fifth success from 34 starts and the first for the 2018 season for his jockey, Saifudin Ismail.

While the smart-money sign was a positive one, it was not really so during the early part of the race for Natural Impulse.

Noted speedster Mastermind kept Natural Impulse honest by matching motors from the word "go".

When two horses try to outdo each other in a speed duel, it usually favours neither. The pace is set up for a finisher.

Probably with that in mind, jockey Nooresh Juglall decided to tuck Invincible Man a couple of lengths behind the speeding pair, even though his mount was also noted for his bright early pace.

Mastermind said sayonara shortly after straightening and the $63 outsider faded to beat only one home of 10 runners.

Juglall made his move and drove Invincible Man after Natural Impulse.

He got to within half a length of the leader at the 300m mark but found out that getting near was one thing, getting past was another.

A vigorous ride by Saifudin saw Natural Impulse crossing the line first by three parts of a length.

The winning time was 1min 00.10sec.

There have been many cases of horses saluting when the big money comes by the lorry loads in the final minutes of their races.

Just a week ago, the Cliff Brown-trained What's New overtook Crown Gift as the favourite in the final minute of betting and duly scored to pay $13.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2018, with the headline 'Natural, not on impulse'. Subscribe