SINGAPORE - Promising colt Peace No War bounced back from his defeat in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1,200m) to score a fighting win in the $65,000 Hello Spain Stakes Graduation race over 1,200m in Race 7 on Sunday.
Considered as one of the leading hopes in the final leg of the six-part Singapore Golden Horseshoe series for two-year-olds following his debut win in one of the earlier legs, the son of War Pass was, however, a pale shadow of himself on that day. He finished eighth, more than six lengths away from dominant winner War Affair.
At a loss to explain this dismal showing, trainer Michael Freedman went back to the drawing board and gave the Lotus Stable-owned galloper a freshen-up before fitting blinkers to him at a barrier trial on July 4.
The headgear certainly worked wonders as Peace No War scored by more than a length in the good time of 1min 0.88secs over 1,000m on the Polytrack.
Drawn in barrier No 1 and carrying the postage-stamp load of 50kg on Sunday, Peace No War could not have hoped for better conditions in his comeback, but faced a major hurdle in the two-from-two Perfect Charger.
But Manoel Nunes turned in a masterly ride which certainly played a big part in the $27 shot's brave ½-length victory over Perfect Charger (Oscar Chavez) in the end.
Holy Empire (John Powell), who had a tough run three wide at the back, charged home late, only to miss second place by a head.
The winning time for the 1,200m was 1min 9.95sec.
Freedman is now eyeing the second and final feature for juveniles, the Group 3 Magic Millions Juvenile Championship over 1,200m in two weeks' time for Peace No War. He also has the luxury of choosing from other handy two-year-olds such as Desert Fox and Bogart.
Said Freedman: "I was completely baffled by his last run. I could put it down to the second-up run.
"He was also becoming coltish and we had a chat with the owners and decided to put the blinkers on. He won a barrier trial with them on.
"When he drew an alley, I thought it was worth running him in that race and he's proven too good.
"The Magic Millions race is next for him, but I also have some other good two-year-olds like Desert Fox and Bogart. We'll see how it goes."
Nunes said Peace No War was a horse he had taken a shine to from Day 1, but was also puzzled by his lack of dash in the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe.
"He's such a lovely horse, has the best temperament in the world and always does what you want him to do. I'm just not sure what happened at his second run," said the Brazilian hoop.
"I don't know whether it was the blinkers. They seem to have worked today, but I really don't think they are necessary.
"The pace was fast today. There was great speed on and I was happy to sit back and let the others give us a cart into the race.
"He showed his class and dug deep to win a very good race. He will get even better with time."