|To trainer Daniel Meagher, any good result that Natural Impulse brings to the table from now on is a bonus.|
The striking chestnut with the white face is gunning for a fourth win in a row in this Friday’s $60,000 Class 4 race over 1100m. Meagher is reasonably confident the feat is achievable, but one could also sense the first-year Australian handler is somehow starting to cross his fingers from this point onwards.
After all, not too long ago, the gelding he has only had for four runs, was a Class 5 cellar dweller struggling to get a win on the board.
Takeovers are always risky propositions, and Meagher did not think a win let alone a treble would have been possible from the Conatus five-year-old when he first walked into his yard.
But he has become the mini rags-to-riches story for the young Australian handler at only his sixth month at Kranji. From his maiden win at his second start for ex-Kranji trainer John Meagher’s youngest son, Natural Impulse has taken no prisoners with another two wins, all forged in the same manner that has now become his trademark – from the front, and with Saifudin Ismail the pilot each and every time.
“It’ll be a tougher task this time. I couldn’t be happier with him, even if he hasn’t improved but neither has he gone backwards; he’s just kept his form,” said Meagher.
“Lightning Fast is on paper the horse to beat. On times, he is better than Natural Impulse.
“He’s got CC Wong (Chin Chuen) on him and that kid is flying. He was a horse who was in front for a long time, but he has learned to settle a lot better in his races now. He just got beaten by Distinctive Darci at his last start, which was a super effort.
“But how long can Natural Impulse sustain the good run, I don’t know. I do know that six months ago, I never thought for a second he would do what he did.
“His achievement has far exceeded my expectations and it’s great for his owners (Fortune Stable) as well.”
Meagher did not fail to again highlight Saifudin as a key player in the galloper’s radical transformation this term, though he did admit that, as much as he is an unabashed fan of the hard-working Malaysian veteran jockey, he did contemplate the possibility of “dropping” him this time round, simply because of the handicap.
“He’s got 56.5kgs against better horses and I was tempted to use an apprentice this time around,” he said.
“But then Natural Impulse is not an easy horse to ride. He’s still got his quirks and getting an apprentice who does not know how to handle him could work against him.
“So, I decided to go with experience and stick with Saifudin. Hopefully, he draws well and he should be in with a chance if he gets a soft enough lead in front.”
Besides the Desmond Koh-trained Lightning Fast, the other contenders Natural Impulse will have to be wary of are Ocean General, especially if the Tan Hor Khoon-trained frontrunner draws better, and John O’Hara’s grey mare War Citi, who has mixed her form after a victorious debut, but showed a glimpse of her early self with a winning barrier trial last Tuesday.