Racing: Serpico in fine form for hat-trick

Racing: Serpico in fine form for hat-trick
Serpico, with Australian jockey Nathan Berry astride, won Race 5 at Kranji on 2 March 2014.

Trainer Michael Freedman's Serpico served up notice of his hat-trick intentions when he worked up a storm at Kranji on Tuesday morning.

With Manoel Nunes in the saddle for that dash at dawn, Serpico raced over the 600m in 39.4sec, finishing with quite a bit in reserve. The three-year-old youngster was a revelation last season and he only got better in the new year.

After opening his Kranji campaign with a fifth placing behind Rusty Brown last July, the son of Henrythenavigator had a frustrating time - finishing second in his next five starts.

Sure, the cheques he cashed in more than paid for "board and lodging". But surely his connections must have yearned for that long overdue day when they could lead their horse into the winner's circle.

Finally, it came. On Feb 7, Serpico duelled with Marcusino over the concluding stages and prevailed by almost a length in a Kranji Stakes D race. He had broken the duck and both "youngsters" - he had flashy apprentice S Noh in the saddle - were on their way.

Indeed, Serpico seemed to like the idea of having his picture taken and, in his very next start - barely a month later - he toyed with the opposition, winning a "Novice" by almost two lengths while humping topweight of 57kg. That day, he had Nathan Berry on the reins.

Both those victories were over the 1,600m - and it didn't matter if it were the Polytrack or the turf. He handled both surfaces equally well.

Come Sunday, Freedman's charge will again go over the mile in a Class 4 event on the turf and, as in his last start, he will again have a load to tote - 57kg.

Should that bother him? Not likely. Indeed, given the form he looks to be in, it does appear like Serpico's got all the credentials for that hat-trick. Mark him down as an extra good thing.

This article was published on April 2 in The New Paper.

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