Skywalk ready to go back to war

Michael Lee

Former gun two-year-old Skywalk seems well poised to pick up where he left off after he turned in a stellar gallop at the Kranji barrier trials on Thursday.

Taken straight to the front by jockey Michael Rodd, Mystic Master’s dashing runner-up in the Group 3 Juvenile Championship (1200m) in July was never bustled up throughout the 1000m hitout, even as Barend Vorster tested Iron Man when they came whipping around upsides while Rodd was as quiet as a church mouse on Skywalk.

The duo pulled away from the rest for what movie buffs might have seen as an Avengers vs Star Wars match-race with Iron Man just nudging Skywalk out by a nose!

To many, the real marvel was Skywalk, just from the way Rodd sat pretty and kept nursing him along under a good hold to still go head-to-head with his challenger.

“I’m very happy with that trial. He went super,” said a clearly enthused Peters.

“Michael said he jumped and travelled well, and finished under his own steam with plenty in hand.

“He said he still had a lot of horse underneath him. He’s obviously come back in good shape after a little break.”

Peters needed no reminder about giving the China Horse Club-owned galloper some time to get over a run. He was the first to put his hand up for his second run coming up too quickly.

After a dominant debut win in a Restricted Maiden race over 1100m, the temptation to back him up the next week in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) was too strong to resist, but he was unfortunately soundly beaten by Lim’s Racer.

With the benefit of hindsight, Peters gave Skywalk a longer buffer of three weeks at his next outing and was immediately rewarded with an improved second place in the Juvenile Championship.

“We made a mistake by running him in the Aushorse one week only after his first run, especially after he drew 11,” recalled the British handler.

“It was a tough race for him. We gave him a freshen-up and he came back much better three weeks later in the Juvenile Championship.

“We then gave him a nice four to five week break and he looks like he is going the right way for the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge next year.

“For now, I have picked a Graduation race over 1200m as his comeback race next Sunday. As he’s three, he will carry a light weight which Michael cannot ride at and I’ve already asked Barend to ride him. Barend knows him well as he rode him at his first two starts.”

While keenly waiting for Skywalk to make his way back to the track next week, Peters will be on tenterhooks this week as his former top 3YO Magnum goes around the track in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1400m) on Sunday.

The son of Per Incanto made a smashing return when victorious first-up in a Class 3 race over 1400m, four months after a taxing three-year-old campaign, which after promising so much ended up with just placings behind the untouchable Debt Collector.

Peters is not finding excuses, but was again rueing the Waterford Stable’s galloper’s misfortune at the barriers. In nine starts, he has drawn off the track eight times, but still somehow managed to score four times.

“He keeps drawing wide, this time in 12,” said the first-season trainer.

“That makes things difficult for him especially as he steps up in class. I’ll have a chat with Corey (Brown) but nothing has been decided yet as far as tactics go.

“The horse is well, but we will again need some luck from that draw.”