Search D B Pin’s name on the Jockey Club website and there is no record of him running this season, but run he did, and the talented John Size-trained sprinter is set to start a short-priced favourite at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
D B Pin was the “winner” — by a wide margin — of infamous race number 134 of the season, when a stray garden rake caused a barrier malfunction and meant starting stalls opened at different times.
The messy situation, since dubbed “rakegate”, almost certainly robbed D B Pin of a maiden win, and leaves punters to assess a race that wasn’t.
While some jockeys realised early that the Class Four was likely to be declared a no race, some, if not most, riders seemed to be competing like there was money on the line.
As such, even if analysing D B Pin’s performance is full of possible pitfalls, there is still much to be learnt and the polished style of the performance has to be noted.
Even though D B Pin was one of the horses whose gate opened slower, perhaps that wasn’t so much of a disadvantage, as Zac Purton was slowly away and slotted behind a leading group of six horses that ripped through the early sectionals.
If the barriers had opened on time, D B Pin — being blessed with an abundance of early speed — may have been part of the skirmish, but as it turned out, Purton was gifted a perfect sit around what would have been midfield, that is had the rest of the runners had been afforded a fair start.
As it was, there were no back-markers there to challenge, but what D B Pin was able to do was still eye-catching, showing good race manners to settle before unleashing a turn of foot to clear out easily under very little pressure from Purton.
Despite being under a hold, the winner stopped the clock at 57.32 seconds — D B Pin’s own time however, would have been considerably quicker, given his own start was delayed.
It’s more of a quirk than anything to go by, but two runners from “rakegate” have already performed well since; Breeders’ Star, who basically took no part in the race, beating Buddy Bundy, who faded out of the speed battle to finish unplaced, last week at Happy Valley over 1,200m.
Bottom line is that before October 26 we were assuming at least a couple of things about D B Pin, one, that the Valley’s 1,000m course would be to his liking, and two, that the son of Darci Brahma had returned a more accomplished racehorse.
Now, three weeks later, we know D B Pin will relish the same fast and furious 1,000m course he had a test run on, and clearly the speedster has taken the required step forward. The bonus? He returns off the same handicap. Seems a no brainer, but his price will come at a premium and D B Pin could be long odds-on.
The biggest danger to D B Pin in the Fukushima Handicap is Wonderful Fighter (Joao Moreira), first-up and from barrier one, meaning Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s five-year-old is drawn to get a perfect box seat run and could attract his own share of market support.
Later in the night, the Kyoto Handicap (Class Three, 1,650m) looms as a great battle between three in-form horses attractively rated right now: Pearl Warm Warm (Sam Clipperton), A Beautiful (Silvestre de Sousa) and Go Go Win (Karis Teetan), with each of them drawing low and coming off unlucky last start displays over the course and distance.
Pearl Warm Warm went desperately close three weeks ago after Clipperton pushed forward from gate 12, travelling very wide around the first turn and sitting on the speed. Even though the race was run at a leisurely pace, given the distance travelled, it was a gutsy effort and the five-year-old now gets barrier one.
Similarly, Go Go Win sat on the pace in a Class Four a week earlier after drawing wide and was beaten by the same short-head margin, this time he draws two and steps up in grade with 115 pounds.
A Beautiful endured the last start run to really forget though, he was sent out 2.5 favourite three weeks ago, only to be absolutely poleaxed when sandwiched between Dinozzo and Inventor in the closing stages — from barrier four he should get every chance this time.