Bold Thruster bowls ’em over
Duric lands four winners on Fortune Bowl Day
Fortune favours the brave. It certainly does - especially the brave punter.
They had taken a beating when Bold Thruster played larrikin in the stalls and blew all chances in the New Year Cup.
But they stayed with the sprinter in Sunday's Fortune Bowl - keeping their fingers crossed that he would clear the gates cleanly in that 1,400m event.
That, he did. He wasn't brilliant. But he jumped with the pack and, for all intent and purpose, it was "race over" for the other 13 runners.
Out in front on settling, his jockey Vlad Duric did just enough to keep his mount interested and the pack at bay.
Into the stretch and Bold Thruster had stolen a break on the rest. But, just when he seemed home and hosed, Grand Koonta emerged and gave chase.
Locked together like Siamese twins, Bold Thruster and Grand Koonta charged to the line.
Over in the stands, the faithful who stood with Bold Thruster smacked imaginary whips and stretched out their necks as the pair hit the line.
For awhile - maybe 10 strides out - it had looked like Alysha Collett on Grand Koonta had got the verdict. But nothing was going to spoil Bold Thruster's day.
A glance at the print and the judges gave it to the No. 3 horse. He had got home by a head. and for those who backed - or did not back him - it was a lesson learnt.
Never give up on a good horse.
For those who kept the faith, the reward was decent. Bold Thruster paid $26 for the win. An unheard of price for a horse with such talent.
It was his eighth win from just 15 starts and his trainer, Michael Clements, was clearly a happy man.
"That was really gutsy," he said in the post-race interview. "We always knew he was a quality horse. It was all about how he got out of the gates. That was his biggest problem. Other than that, he's a pretty tough horse."
Duric was in full agreement. "He's a bulldog," he said. "I was very confident after his trial (on Jan 16). As for the race, he broke nicely and it allowed me to ride my race.
"When he got to the front, he quickly relaxed. The Four-Year-Old Series is coming up. It's probably a race he can win."
Duric was, without a doubt, the man of the moment. But lifting the Fortune Bowl was just the icing on the cake.
After all, it brought up his fourth win for the day. His earlier winners were Inherit in the fourth race, Mr Malek in the sixth, and Rocket Star in Race 8.
Sent off as a prohibitive $6 top pick in the Class 4 Division 1 sprint over the 1,400m, Rocket Star delivered a five-star performance - one which was rich in enterprise, skill and resolution.
Beaten into second spot in three of his last four jump-outs, the handsome chestnut was everybody's choice. They plonked the contents of their red packets on his nose and the God Of Fortune smiled on them.
Simply put, Rocket Star was brilliant. Not only did he take the race with 2¼ lengths to spare, but he also did it with, what seemed like, unparalleled impudence.
What we saw on Sunday was a horse going places. So what if it was in his name? There was "star" written all over him and it wouldn't surprise if he were to become a darling with the punters here at Kranji.