Both runners were well backed, but it was Altair , the $16 top pick, who proved a touch stronger on the day, jumping straight onto the bunny before fending off the close attention of Ararat Lady (Mohammad Nizar) and pulling clear in the home straight.
Sacred Rebel (Hakim Kamaruddin) took a while to go through his gears two lengths in arrears but once he darted through a gap between Siam Warrior (Ryan Munger) and Hugo (Krisna Thangamani), he closed in steadily to finish within 1 ½ lengths of his stablemate.
In clocking a sizzling 1min 3.76secs, Altair lowered Autumn Assault's 1100m record by 0.21 second while the win was ringing up a five-timer for Maia, three weeks after his famous seven-timer.
The Brazilian jockey's earlier winners were Moon Face, Blue Blood, Aramani and Retallica. With leading jockey Vlad Duric serving a two-week suspension, Maia has now hit 37 winners, and has closed down the gap to 11 winners (Duric is on 48 winners).
Walker said Altair had taken a little longer to hit his straps this prep while Sacred Rebel ran his usual honest race.
"It's taken a while for Altair to come up this prep. We put a set of visors on for the first time, and it seems to have sharpened him up," said Walker.
"Sacred Rebel ran a nice race. He is holding his form."
In the next race, the $100,000 Class 1 race over 1600m, Walker was saddling top miler Countofmontecristo for the first time, but it was Mr Malek who upstaged him with a blistering turn of foot (see other report). Joe Singh's galloper, who gave weight all around (six kilos after apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin's three-kilo claim), even lost second place to stablemate Yulong Edition (Ng Choon Kiat) by a short head.
"The winner (Mr Malek) is pretty good and you must not forget he had only 50kgs and Yulong Edition had only 47kgs," said the Kiwi handler.
"I thought it was still a gallant effort from Countofmontecristo. He ran very well.
"It was a good lead-up run towards the Raffles Cup and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup."
On Friday, the Singapore Turf Club released the dates for the three Legs of the Singapore Triple Crown series, with the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m) due on October 10, the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1800m) on October 31 and the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) on November 21.