Grand Cross returned to winning ways in the $100,000 Canada Cup 2018, a Class 2 race over 1200m on Friday night.
The Fastnet Rock five-year-old has not scored since the last of his trio of wins on March 24 in a Class 3 race over 1200m, but neither had he been beaten far at his next four races.
Trainer James Peters is aware that such rapid progression shown by the China Horse Club-owned gelding does not escape the handicapper’s eye, hence the tougher cattle he was being pitted against in his recent outings.
Grand Cross (Zawari Razali) returns to his best in the Class 2 race on Friday, picture Singapore Turf Club
But he also knew it would only be a matter of time before Grand Cross breaks through again once he finds the right race for him.
Putting on Zawari Razali was also a winning move. Not only is Mark Walker’s apprentice jockey currently one of the best values in the junior riding ranks given his strength in the saddle with his two kilos claim a real gift, but Peters has also had a bit of luck with him recently – Brahma Circus and Arc Triumph have already won for the pair.
“Zawari rides very well and we’re having a good run with him,” said Peters.
“We wanted to go forward but when I saw they were running the first 400m in 23.8secs I thought it was a bit too quick.
“Zawari did well to give him a midrace breather and in the straight, the horse kept on and won well.
“This horse came up as a maiden and he’s done a good job to go through his grades. He’s versatile as he goes well on both Polytrack and grass.
“I wouldn’t mind stepping him up to 1400m from now on, but I know it will get tougher in the weights. I may look at a feature race like the iRace Classic (over 1200m on March 9) for him.”
Zawari, who has now drawn level with Troy See on five wins but remains in second spot on a countback for seconds, reported that Grand Cross ($26) gave him a fairly hassle-free ride throughout the six-furlong journey.
“The horse was always travelling very well. At the home turn, when I asked him to go, he gave me everything,” he said.
“I think the 1000m is not enough for him. More is better lah.”
Whether “more” means 1200m or further will probably be verified very soon with Peters having also set his sights on such assignments for Grand Cross in the near future.
Favourite Draco (Glen Boss) was probably the certainty beaten in the race. He missed the start, did well to recover, but turning for home, ran into dead ends and by the time he found a split, the bird had already flown.
That bird was Grand Cross, who after a smart jump, was caught in a bit of a tussle with Nova Missile (Ryan Curatolo) who surprisingly insisted to hold the advantage from his inside draw.
Zawari eased his mount ever so slightly, preferring not to burn too much petrol early, and his patience hit paydirt in the end, even if at the 300m, a gaggle of horses made up of Al Green (Vlad Duric), Lim’s Shot (Barend Vorster) and Elite Star (Matthew Kellady) looked like they could all topple Grand Cross, but their closing sectionals lacked punch in the end.
Grand Cross hit home first with one length to spare from the unlucky Draco with Viviano third another half-a-length away. The winning time was 1min 9.47secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
With that fourth win, Grand Cross’s takings have now exceeded the $240,000 mark for the China Horse Club.