Follow Fallon's Fortune

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 January, 1999, 12:00am

It's such a difficult dirt meeting at Sha Tin tonight that the deciding factors are a combination of proven dirt form and a certain prolific British champion jockey, Kieren Fallon.

Put the two together, plus a bit of recent form and a stable in the midst of a purple patch and, hopefully, Fortune Partner can do the business for us in the night's third event.

But the byword is hope as all the races look tricky affairs. This just may be the least competitive of the seven on offer.

The problem with dirt racing is that there is not enough of it.

Don't get me wrong. This is no argument for more. Less or none at all is the preference. At the moment there is some but it is not enough to really get a guide to dirt form, which can be altogether different from the grass. Turnover on dirt meetings is down significantly compared to the grass meetings and this has to be the reason.

Hong Kong punters form the shrewdest market anywhere and, knowing that the dirt form is unsubstantiated, they bet less.

The answer is either to have more dirt racing - taking the punt that this will provide for more reliable form analysis and thus boost turnover - or none at all.

Fortune Partner is one horse who while he handles the grass, is very much at home on the dirt, as evidenced by his record of eight placings from 14 dirt outings.

He's had just one outing this season for his new trainer Alex Wong Yu-on, who comes into tonight's meeting fresh from a double at Sha Tin on Saturday, and on that occasion ran a good third to the gambled-on Bon Bon.

Fortune Partner probably needed that outing as while he looked really well in himself, he'd had an interrupted preparation and had missed a few days at the track.

So there is every reason to expect he'll improve for the run and he should also prefer tonight's 1,800-metre trip rather than the mile he ran over last time.

On that last effort he should be able to confirm the form with one of tonight's main dangers, American Star, who was fourth having had every chance.

American Star came into the race in tip-top condition so it would be a surprise to see him get the better of Fortune Partner tonight, especially at this longer trip which should suit the selection more than this particular rival who, all the same, remains a solid quinella chance. Toy Boy likes to lead and did run a good second to Red Commander over tonight's course and distance three starts ago.

He's been disappointing since but this looks a more suitable race and he could get his own way in front - with Fortune Partner getting the perfect run on his shoulder in a race where there isn't too much speed.

Manley's Fortune is open to improvement and Never Say No should like the trip but is a risk on the surface as he lacks basic speed.

Sun's Treasure could run well at big odds now he's stepped up to a more suitable trip and is worth throwing into the tierce.

Elsewhere, Fortune Maker should give a good account of himself in the opener, On Diamond Hill can put in an improved effort in the fourth, while the likes of Unlimiteddimension, Souper, Winning Luck and Fire-Fighter could dominate the quinella in the fifth.