SINGAPORE - You don't have to look beyond Slew Of Lode to pick the winner for Sunday's Class 3 sprint over the 1,200m.
The four-year-old from trainer Patrick Shaw's yard is good to go for his third win from just four starts.
Slew Of Lode threw down the gauntlet at the feet of his very-talented rivals when he turned in a more than impressive gallop at Kranji on Tuesday morning.
After cantering one round and looking good, the Argentinian-bred took the bit and raced over the final 600m in 35.8sec. He had John Powell in the saddle.
On The Reins
Incidentally, Powell was on the reins in both of Slew Of Lode's wins. The first was on Dec 15 - the final race day of the 2013 season.
Up against a rather smart Class 4 field, Powell placed his mount smack dab behind the pace which was set by Movie Goer and Dragon Force. He had the vastly-improved Southern General at his withers.
Although having to travel three-wide, he never lost touch with the frontrunners. However, it was only at the 300m mark that he made his move. From then on it was all over, bar the shouting - and there was a real din from the stands as the $21 first favourite romped to the front and cruised away to win as he liked.
Two months later, on Feb 23, it was very much the same. Promoted a class for after that Ferrari-like win, the son of Lode faced a Class 3 field. Snapped up as an extra good thing and sent on his way as the $11 top fancy, Slew Of Lode jumped cleanly and was parked fourth on the rails by Powell.
Always within striking distance, he however looked to be in a bit of bother at the top of the straight when the frontrunners closed ranks and had him "boxed" up behind them.
Powell searched for room, spotted daylight 150m out and went for it. Slew Of Lode knew what he had to do, Ears pricked back he charged through the gap to win by a half-length.
Indeed, you can forget the slim margin of victory. As race comentator Craig Evans told all who were at Kranji that day, it was - quite definitely - top-shelf stuff.
Come Sunday, Slew Of Lode will be gunning for his hat-trick. Don't bet against it happening.
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