Kinane magic to raise the Bounty
BRILLIANT Irish jockey Mick Kinane can make all the difference to dirt specialist Bounty in the second event on the Sha Tin artificial surface tonight.
Bounty is a freak on the dirt and pounds better on this surface than on the grass.
Admittedly the Lam Hung-fie-trained gelding was beaten first time out behind William's Tact on the dirt this season, but there were valid excuses.
He did not have the best of the draw in that mile event as he had to jump from barrier eight of the 11 runners and that modest draw became a terrible one as soon as he was slowly away.
He was then behind a wall of horses and his apprentice jockey decided to rush him forward around the field as they swung into the back straight.
This was despite a fast pace already being set by the leaders and Bounty was up disputing the lead for much of the trip down the back straight and rounding the bottom bend.
Given the sectional times of 22.4, 24.2 and 25.8 seconds for the last three-quarters of a mile it is no wonder that Bounty could not go on with it and eventually weakened into sixth, beaten 103/4 lengths.
His effort was made to look slightly worse than it was by the fact that he was starting for the first time this season and was almost certainly in need of the run.
But he was still given little chance given the pattern of the race and the pace they went and should go much closer tonight with Mick Kinane doing the steering and with that pipe-opener under his belt.
Kinane showed why he has dominated the Irish scene for so long and won countless Group One races from Europe to America to Australia when in double form on Saturday.
His ride on Ablaze was about as good as you will see. He gave nothing away to the other jockeys, he had the debutant travelling sweetly and settled, he threaded him through the eye of a needle not once but about three times from the top of the straight, he was all power despite his whip being in his left hand yet he was also as kind as he could be on Ablaze in the closing stages. He gave him just three cracks with the whip and once the race was won he put the whip straight down and let him enjoy his victory.
It was copybook stuff. Patience, balance, power, determination and kindness. It was all there and Kinane's presence could be one of the most important factors in seeing Bounty home in what is not an overly competitive event. The best way to bet this race is probably through the tierce. Stand out Bounty to win and put in Dragon Jet, Another Victory and Valiant Red to run second.
Al Bundy and Everwell Times have to be included for third in a perm of 15 bets - Bounty to win, then three chances for second and those three, plus Al Bundy and Everwell Times, for third. Dragon Jet has raced consistently over the past year and cannot be left out of the quinellas, but probably the biggest quinella chance is Another Victory who ran second to William's Tact last time and goes well on the dirt, especially over this mile trip. Valiant Red is another dirt specialist and he must be conceded a strong tierce chance and is also a possibility for the quinella.
He has also been racing well, but the one thing that makes him more of a tierce hope than a quinella chance is that the mile is on the short side for him these days. Al Bundy finds winning difficult. Indeed he has never won in the territory, but he ran on well for third last time at the Valley and is another tierce hope.
Everwell Times was never on the track last time and can be forgiven that effort. He benefited from a fast pace to win the last time he raced on the dirt and is another tierce hope. Health First has plenty of ability and could run into the placings, but he has also become difficult to catch right and last time, when full racing pressure was applied, he looked anything but in love with the game.
Vitality has won on the dirt, but has lost his form of late and has always been an enigmatic type. The way he's been racing it should be safe to leave him out.