He’s no superstar, but Modern Fortune can still be counted on as a banker in the opening leg of the Triple Trio tomorrow as the John Size-trained course specialist chases a third dirt win for the season at Sha Tin.
Modern Fortune was consistent enough without winning in 13 starts last term but after knocking on the door at what quickly became his pet distance of 1,200m on the all-weather track, he was able to win two of his first four races this time in.
With Modern Fortune’s rating climbing to near the top of the grade in Class Four, Size tried the five-year-old at Happy Valley, where the gelding ran above expectations in third.
The gelding was then withdrawn from another Valley race with lameness and came back to what is clearly his best surface with another third, this time as favourite, behind Bear Rapper at the all-dirt meeting on April 6.
Modern Fortune (Nash Rawiller) contests a 1,200m Class Four with a mostly exposed bunch, the race seemingly lacking any horses likely to be going much higher in the ratings.
Of course Modern Fortune isn’t heading to Class One either, but you know what you are going to get from him, and from barrier five he should get the right type of run.
Last time from barrier three, Joao Moreira ended up three back on the rails – an ideal spot in most races – and it afforded him a run on the eventual winner’s back, but dirt racing is all about momentum and perhaps he would have finished closer had he been in free galloping room earlier.
There doesn’t look to be overwhelming speed, which could be problematic for a horse who generally sits midfield, but Rawiller should be able to find a one-off spot and give his horse every chance.
Moreira rides Respect for John Moore, a three-year-old whose drop into Class Five and switch to the dirt after seven unplaced runs brought about a solid-enough third.
Respect goes in but it’s hard to be filled with confidence about his chances given the level of opposition he faced last time.
Of the others, Easy Success (Brett Prebble) looks to be closer to full fitness and finding a competitive rating, while Travel Number One (Neil Callan) also goes in.
One at odds to consider is Globe Trotter (Gavin Lerena), a four-year-old on the surface for the first time and whose rating is rapidly dropping – he has enough speed to push forward into a prominent spot and could stick around longer than usual, especially if the track plays to the leaders.
In the second leg take Blocker Dee (Zac Purton) as banker as the Caspar Fownes-trained four-year-old comes to Sha Tin for the first time after a series of strong performances at Happy Valley.
The bigger track’s 1,200m won’t be a problem for the free-striding type in an average Class Three and Purton should get a nice run from barrier two.
Imports out of France don’t have a great record early in their careers, but Invincible Dragon (Callan) has trialled well enough to suggest he can run a place. Also include Speedy Achiever (Matthew Chadwick) and Wah May Friend (Moreira).
The final leg, a 1,400m Class Four, is where more options may have to be used. Chris So Wai-yin’s Hang’s Decision (Derek Leung Ka-chun) looks a great chance coming back to Sha Tin and back in trip from a good draw, but is a somewhat risky proposition as banker after he did things wrong last start.
Instead take Inventor (Purton) as banker from Triumphant Light (Douglas Whyte), Danewin Express (Chadwick) and perhaps even Unbeatable Guts (Ben So Tik-hung) – he is first-up for two months but is back in grade and trialled well.