By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Friday’s run in the $85,000 Class 2 race over 1400m will give trainer Kuah Cheng Tee a handy guide whether Per Inpower should be entered in the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m) in three weeks’ time.
The Silver Bowl is the first Leg of the revamped Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge and will be run on February 29.
About six months ago, such lofty designs would doubtfully have been on the cards whenever Kuah and connections, the Strong Stable, sit around to discuss about the Per Incanto’s career path at Kranji.
There had been flashes of brilliance no doubt, especially those sizzling sectionals that saw him power home towards the business end. As a three-year-old, the get-back runner won second-up and even gained a ticket to Group racing, in the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m).
But he bombed his start that day and ran last. He again flopped at his next run, the ordinary beginning mannerisms again in the way.
Kuah figured the shortcomings were not in the engine, but a little further up between the ears.
More TLC in that area proved to be the trigger that opened the floodgates – four wins in a row in the space of five months.
Still, the former jockey remained careful about overselling the horse who has no doubt become the mainstay at his boutique stable.
“We noticed early this horse had potential, but earlier on, he was still learning,” said Kuah.
“He was quite cranky mentally. With more time and racing, he has matured and that’s when he started to win races one after another.
“It’s taken a lot of time to get him right but the owner has been very patient and lets me do what’s necessary for their horse.
“As he’s also a light-framed horse, I have kept his races well spaced out, and I always give him a barrier trial before each race.
“We had long picked that race (on Friday) for him. We’ll see how he runs and then discuss with the owners if he goes for the Group race (Silver Bowl).”
Kuah will again pair his charge up with John Sundradas who has established a 100% strike rate since getting on for the first time in a Class 4 race over 1400m on July 7 – the first of Per Inpower’s winning streak of four.
“John knows the horse well. He gallops him sometimes and rode him at his last trial (January 7),” said Kuah.
“To be honest, he didn’t show much that day. Hopefully, he’s now more seasoned and matured and is not as hot in his trials, and saves his best for raceday.
“It’s a big test with horses like Altair and Siam Blue Vanda, but then again he’s beaten pretty good horses recently. He’s a lightweight chance (50.5kgs) and we can only hope he runs well.
“He needs to run a good race or else, there won’t be much point looking at the Group race.”
The Silver Bowl is then followed by the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on March 20 and the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) on April 18. In 11 starts, Per Inpower has yet to venture beyond the seven furlongs.