Moor stays true to Malaysian top gun despite debut flop

Queen Elizabeth II Cup hopefuls Truson and Elite Excalibur were given an ideal last tune-up at the barrier trials on Thursday, but trainer Cliff Brown would still rather wait and see how the duo come out of the hit-out before casting anything in stone.

Truson looking fit as a fiddle as he is unsaddled by Daniel Moor after his barrier trial.
Truson looking fit as a fiddle as he is unsaddled by Daniel Moor after his barrier trial. Picture: Singapore Turf Club

"They went very fast in that trial. Truson was very good," said the Australian handler.

"I'll have too see how they both pull up. They look fine, but we'll have a better idea tomorrow."

Of the two, Truson  (Daniel Moor) certainly turned in the more pleasing performance with a steady third place to the duelling pair of Curvature (Matthew Kellady) and Tesoro Privado (track rider) while Elite Excalibur (Michael Rodd) just flopped out of the pens to settle a long last throughout the 1000m gallop.

The dual Group 3 winner (both over the mile – Committee's Prize and Moonbeam Vase) is not known as a horse who sets barrier trial mornings on fire, while Truson can certainly keep up with a blistering pace better.

Brown has nominated both gallopers for next Sunday's $800,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m), the second Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series. Currently the highest-rated horse in Singapore courtesy of his 18 wins including four at Group 1 level (including the Selangor Gold Cup) during a stellar Malaysian career, Truson still remains on top of the noms on 126 points with Elite Excalibur third in the order of entry on 109 points, one behind Countofmontecristo.

Truson and Elite Excalibur make up two of a five-pronged attack from Brown's yard, alongside Elite Quarteto, What's New and last Sunday's runner-up Gold Strike. The latter and Elite Quarteto (unplaced in the Group 3 El Dorado Classic over 2000m) did not run in the first Leg, the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m), narrowly won by Makanani on September 22, while Elite Excalibur was a scratching.

Expected to be among the early pacesetters in the Raffles Cup, especially from the inside draw, Truson, however, dropped back at the tail before railing through to a midfield spot approaching the home turn. But the strides looked laboured in the home straight as he disappeared out of the race with Moor not persevering in the last furlong.

It was in stark contrast to the Buffalo No 2 Stable-owned Al Maher's eight-year-old's easy barrier trial win five days before.

Having been his Kranji partner right through, Moor would be mindful of that. Still, he was prepared to forgive the ordinary first-up run, hoping that it would have least brought him on, even if a major form turnaround in the QEII Cup looks a tall order.

"He switched off better today," said the Australian jockey.

"Cliff had to work on his condition a lot given the limited amount of time he's had with him (since coming down South).

"He was short of a run first-up. I was happy with the way he bounced out, but he blew out the last bit.

"He's come right since, he's tightened up. The horse is very sound and happy, he's breathing well and has taken improvement from that first run.

"He's come to the right place as Cliff is a very patient trainer who doesn't tax his horses. He'll appreciate that kind of training."

Singapore Turf Club