Punters show no fear with Money Man

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 January, 2007, 12:00am

Will the real Money Man please stand up? Judging by the weight of money for the three-year-old in early markets last night, an army of punters expect him to do so and make a belated return to the winning list at Sha Tin tonight.

Money Man, a son of boom Australian-based Danehill horse Redoute's Choice, looked an exciting prospect last year when he was one of the most promising types in the griffin ranks.

He even ran second to Bear Macho in the Juvenile Sprint Trophy - with Inspiration third and Northern Hero fourth - so that form certainly stands up.

However, it was the following weekend, on June 17 to be exact, that Money Man showed his worth. With the supreme race fitness of being on an eight-day back-up, Money Man made mincemeat of his griffin rivals, scoring by seven lengths and was eased up in the final stages by apprentice Terry Wong Chi-wai with the race safely in his keeping.

Money Man has raced four times in the new term and it's fair to say he's been a bit disappointing. One theory is that a hard first-up run when fourth to Grand Supreme in a very competitive Class Three over 1,000m at Happy Valley on September 20 left him a bit flat. When trainer Caspar Fownes applied the blinkers at Money Man's third start, he ran third to Inspiration, beaten 13/4 lengths, but had absolutely no excuses after a typically perfect Felix Coetzee ride.

Fownes has taken the 'stop-and-start-again' approach with Money Man, and the gelding hasn't raced since November 22 when an ordinary eighth to O Danny Boy over 1,200m at the city venue.

He prepared for this with a fair second to Palio King in a barrier trial over 1,200m on the all-weather track on January 19, when the winner clocked a pedestrian time that was more than two seconds outside standard for trials at this distance.

It was a useful piece of work, but certainly not convincing. The other thing with Money Man is that he really hasn't been furnished with maturity.

When he won his first griffin race in March, he weighed 1,013 pounds but yesterday morning - some 10 months later - he hit the scales at a mere 1,001 pounds and showed none of the development that one would have normally anticipated for a maturing youngster.

On last night's 6pm tote call, Money Man was a short-priced $23 favourite, and that will almost certainly mean the big players will be trying to bet around him.