The Group Two Premier Bowl has seen higher-rated runners prevail in recent years but lightweight chance D B Pin, one of four John Size-runners in this year’s race, is the horse with most room to move at the handicaps.
Size saddles up top-rated pair Thewizardofoz (Joao Moreira) and Mr Stunning (Nash Rawiller), both to carry 133 pounds, along with Amazing Kids (Brett Prebble) lumping 129 pounds.
However, it is D B Pin (Karis Teetan) with just 116 pounds on his back who looms as the knockout hope in a star-studded race though, even of a wide draw makes his task a little bit trickier.
Last year’s winner Lucky Bubbles (Zac Purton) resumes carrying 132 pounds, one pound more than 12 months ago, with the six-year-old having won a Group One and performed consistently at top level since then.
Two years ago, Able Friend roared home with top weight, aided by a relentless tempo up front, but before that famous victory this fixture has thrown up plenty of lightweight winners, often at big odds.
Before Sterling City’s win with 127 pounds in 2013, seven of the previous 13 winners carried 118 pounds or less, and seven of the winners went off at double-figure odds.
Those upset results probably speak to the Premier Bowl’s status as a warm-up race – we are still two races away from grand final day – so the big guns are often not 100 per cent, as well as being burdened by big weights.
Not every lightweight winner of the Premier Bowl is headed somewhere, it seems this race is a chance to creep under the heavyweights’ guards, but it is the handicapper’s guard D B Pin might have got under.
D B Pin is yet to run against the big guns at level weights, so we don’t have a clear measure of his ability just yet, but he has put in two commendable runs at Group Three level.
After rising through the ranks with five wins from his first six starts last season (plus an eye-catching effort in the voided “rakegate” race), D B Pin closed strong for second behind Lucky Year in the Sha Tin Vase.
First-up this season in the National Day Cup, D B Pin had his sprint sucked out of him when contesting a hot speed up the straight – still sticking on for third behind Dashing Fellow, who had stalked the leaders in the run.
Barrier 11 never looks good on paper from the 1,200m start, but D B Pin might get to show his best when held up for a late run.
The speed map doesn’t suggest breakneck speed, Fabulous One and Peniaphobia are the obvious first two in the run, with Magic Legend not far away.
Look for Lucky Bubbles to be a pair or two closer than he was for most of last season, when he was unlucky on a number of occasions.
The big winner at the draw was Not Listenin’tome (Tommy Berry), with gate four providing the perfect run for a horse than was a narrow second to his stablemate Dashing Fellow first-up.
Of the other lightweights, maybe Strathmore (Derek Leung Ka-chun) is worth consideration at big odds after an electric piece of trackwork during the week.
Strathmore hasn’t won for nearly two years but was another not suited by the way the National Day Cup panned out, he was stuck out in the centre of the track but still finished alongside some more fancied rivals.