Skywalk bounces back

Skywalk returning triumphant for his eighth success in Race 6 at Kranji last night after a break.
Skywalk returning triumphant for his eighth success in Race 6 at Kranji last night after a break.ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

James Peters-trained 5YO romps home in course-record time

The good Skywalk of old showed up at Kranji last night off a smashing trial victory last week.

Fresh from a 51/2-month spell, the James Peters-trained five-year-old New Zealand-bred bounced back to the winning list in the night's highlight - the $100,000 Class 1 event over the Polytrack 1,100m in Race 6.

The chestnut gelding not only thrashed his eight rivals but also proceeded to shave 0.07sec off Filibuster's 2017 course record for the distance with his winning time of 1min 04.09sec.

It was Skywalk's eighth success in 21 starts and he has brought his earnings to about $560,000 for China Horse Club.

The horse had gone off tangent since his last victory on July 22 last year, finishing out of the money in four starts. He was rested after his disappointing 10th placing in the Group 3 New Year Cup over the Poly 1,200m on Jan 1.

The spell certainly did Skywalk a world of good. He won his trial last week, which was highlighted in The New Paper with the headline "Skywalk shines in classy trial".

Surprisingly, he was neglected in the early betting, around the $50 mark, but was heavily backed late and went off at $19 for a win.

Ridden by jockey Ben Thompson, Skywalk was settled nice and relaxed early, as at least five horses battled for the lead.

Special King then popped just slightly ahead but Webster charged up on his outside at the 600m mark. Super Fortune and Super Winner were right behind, followed by Skywalk on the rails and Marine Treasure a bit wide.

Special King, Super Fortune and Webster straightened up almost as one. Skywalk crept up behind them and just needed the lucky split. It came at the 300m mark, where Webster hit the front.

Thompson got Skywalk sweeping past the leader 250m out to win going away. He won by a length from Special King, who beat Marine Treasure by a short head, with a head to Super Fortune.

Peters reckoned there was going to be a lot of speed, which would suit Skywalk. When the lucky break came, the baby-faced Englishman was brimming with confidence.

"Yeah, looked like it was going to work out perfect for us. We had a perfect draw and there was going to be good speed," he said.

"We were just going to have that perfect position, tracked them up without doing any work and it just worked out perfectly for him.

"He's a very good horse fresh and we'd given him plenty of time after his last couple of disappointing runs. I was looking forward to see him run tonight."

Thompson was full of praise for the horse and trainer.

"He has a fabulous record, all the credit must go to James Peters and his team," said the young Australian jockey. "He has had this horse since he was a two-year-old and - 21 starts for eight wins - it's hard to do better than that."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2019, with the headline 'Skywalk bounces back'. Print Edition | Subscribe