‘Hidden dragons’ to battle it out under condition weights in Fortune Bowl

From top to bottom, the condition weights of the $110,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m) looked to have something for every runner to fight it out on the second day of the Chinese New Year come Sunday.

Connections are eager to usher in the Year of the Dragon with a win in the Fortune Bowl, but an open race awaits under the race conditions.

Group 1 winners will carry 58kgs; an extra two kilos over Group 2 and 3 winners (56kgs), Class 1 winners will carry 54kgs; two kilos more than Class 2 and 3 winners (52kgs), while runners who only won in Class 4 and below will carry 50kgs.

In addition, a one-kilo allowance will be given to runners that have not won in their last five starts, and fillies and mares will be granted a one-and-a-half kilo allowance. Weight-for-age allowances will also be applied where required.

When the handicaps for the feature race meeting were released on Monday, it made for interesting reading with Group 1 winners Golden Monkey and Prosperous Return carrying the heaviest loads at 58kgs while fourth Emergency Acceptor Istataba will only carry 50.5kgs.

On a rating-to-weight scale, the Richard Lim-trained Super Salute looked to be the best with 56kgs on his back off a rating of 105, while the Donna Logan-trained King Arthur was also very well in with 53kgs off a rating of 98, albeit not everyone got the favours they wanted from the race conditions.

The resuming Rocket Star will carry 51kgs in the Group 3 Fortune Bowl on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club

The in-form and progressive Bestseller was ‘worst’ at the rating-to-weight ratio with 56kgs off a rating of 86 but his stablemate, Rocket Star, looked well-placed with only 51kgs off his rating of 91.

A four-time winner with his highest win coming in a Class 3 race (1200m) on 25 October 2020, the consistent galloper’s rating peaked at 97 and stayed there for the better part of two years.

While he placed many times at Group level, including running second to Lim’s Lightning in the 2021 Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m), the weights rarely fell in the favour of the seven-year-old son of Star Witness, who finally gets his chance for trainer Ricardo Le Grange on Sunday.

A longer look at the capacity 20-horse field nominated for the last Fortune Bowl at Kranji suggested trainer Steven Burridge would have been all smiles with Invincible Tycoon and Street Of Dreams both very well in on 54kgs off a rating of 97 and 92 respectively.

Like Rocket Star, Invincible Tycoon has been a model of consistency at Group level without winning and certainly gets his chance to shine on Sunday. Street Of Dreams, who is second-up after his last-start fourth on 20 January, will also have admirers.

“They get in nicely (at the race conditions) for sure,” said Burridge.

“Especially Invincible Tycoon as he found it hard to beat the likes of Golden Monkey at level weights, so four kilos off him (Golden Monkey) and even two (kilos) off Super Salute looked fair.

“Both horses are ready and they should race well.”

Golden Monkey’s trainer, Tim Fitzsimmons, thought his stable star can carry top weight and win but also suggested his other runner, Dream Alliance, is one to watch at the weights.

“Dream Alliance gets in great at the conditions with only 52kgs (off a rating of 89),” said the affable Australian conditioner, who also has Emergency Acceptor No.3, Gold Star nominated in the race.

“He (Dream Alliance) races well fresh and I was really happy with his trial the other day (won trial no 1 on 1 February in 59.89secs).

“But Golden Monkey proved at his last start (finished second in a Class 1 race over 1200m on 20 January) he could carry weight. He was first-up too, so that was an impressive run.

“I’m happy with both and with some luck in a big field, they will be running on strongly.”

Five-time Singapore champion jockey Manoel Nunes, who often gets to pick his rides, the race conditions certainly played a part in his choice of Super Salute.

“I looked at the (race) conditions and his (Super Salute) weight looked very good.” said the Brazilian ace.

“He usually carries top weight with his high rating, so he will appreciate having only 56kgs to carry.

“I think 1400m is his best trip too, and it’s important getting two kilos off Golden Monkey, so it all looks good and we’re just waiting on a nice barrier.”