Blizzard storms in to land Fortune Bowl

Former Hong Kong topliner Blizzard could not have picked a classier act to open his Singapore account, the traditional Chinese New Year feature, Wednesday’s $200,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m).

Blizzard storms in to land Fortune Bowl

Former Hong Kong topliner Blizzard could not have picked a classier act to open his Singapore account, the traditional Chinese New Year feature, Wednesday’s $200,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m).

Blizzard winning the FORTUNE BOWL
Blizzard winning the FORTUNE BOWL Picture:Singapore Turf Club

Though unplaced (sixth and fourth) at his first two Kranji outings, both over 1200m, the former Hong Kong Group 3 winner (Chinese Club Challenge Cup over 1400m in 2017) did give strong hints he was not far off his best.

Especially so at his last start in the Group 3 New Year Cup (1200m) on January 1 when he came off the ruck to hit the line powerfully, just a little over three lengths off the winner Constant Justice.

With seven wins recorded over distances ranging between 1000m and 1400m at Sha Tin, not to mention a third place in one of the most competitive sprint championships in the world, the 2017 Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), 1 ½ lengths off star sprinter Mr Stunning, a Kranji career mapped out along that blueprint awaited, but trainer Lee Freedman was thinking out of the square.

He had a hunch Blizzard was looking for more ground these days. The seven furlongs of the Fortune Bowl third-up fitted into the perfect scenario.

Aided by an inch-perfect ride from Daniel Moor, Blizzard ($22), with his bright red hood, came off his smothered run to motor home in the nick of time and nail Countofmontecristo (Glen Boss) by the narrowest of margins.

Singapore Derby winner Jupiter Gold (Marc Lerner) ran on for third place another three-quarter length away. The winning time was 1min 21.86secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.

Favourite Mister Yeoh (Michael Rodd) had every chance. The Group 2 EW Barker Trophy winner figured among the 10 horses who could still vie for top honours as the competitive 16-horse field spread across the track, but in spite of his gallant effort, had to settle for fourth place another three-quarter length away.

Besides giving Blizzard his local account-opener, the heart-stopping last-gasp win also handed another first, Moor’s first Singapore feature success as well as a first hat-trick of wins at Kranji for good measure (he won aboard Irving Lipschitz in a dead-heat and Quarter Back earlier).

While Freedman was not at his inaugural Singapore Group win, it did bring echoes of the Australian Hall of Fame trainer’s first such Group success last year when he also won with another Hong Kong import – Circuit Land in the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m).

The master handler explained that the Fortune Bowl had come at the right time for the classy Blizzard.

“He needed his first two runs here. He didn’t handle the Polytrack either,” he said.

“But I knew the 1400m would suit him better. His trackwork form was good.

“I’m so thrilled it’s worked out well and I think he’ll be a force to reckon with over the mile.

“A race like the Chairman’s Trophy will be perfect for him.”

This year’s Chairman’s Trophy is actually the next Group race on the Singapore racing calendar. It will be run on March 3.

One person who would be particularly excited by that next assignment was of course Moor, who was, however, keen to just savour the present moment for now – his first taste of Group success in a place he has had designs on for a long time.

“It’s pretty big to win my first Group race in Singapore. It’s a great feeling,” said the Warrnambool-born jockey.

“I’ve wanted to ride here since my first visit more than 10 years ago when Fabian Alesci was riding here for John Meagher.

“But I guess I wasn’t ready then. I’m glad I’m here now, my family loves it, we’re having a great time.

“I had a slow start, but I always knew the middle and end of the season would be good.

“I’m lucky enough to have been given the ride on this horse. I’m very thankful to Lee and the owners.

“This horse has a touch of class. He was placed in the Hong Kong Sprint, but they must have thought we were mad when Lee said he would run a mile.

“He had a beautiful run in behind the speed today. In the straight, Harry (A’Isisuhairi) Kasim (Robin Hood) was in front of me and I had to make a split-second decision if I had to cross his heels.

“Glen Boss’s horse (Countofmontecristo) was fighting hard but my horse just got there.”

Already a stakes winner of more than two million US dollars from his seven Hong Kong wins as well as minor prizemoney earned in Japan (Sprinters Stakes and Takamatsunomiya Kinen), Blizzard has now banked in around $130,000 in local earnings following that first Singapore salute for the Infinitude Stable.

The Hong Kong owners also race Jomo, who, however, saw his unbeaten run of three wins come to an end in the next race, the $70,000 Health & Happiness Stakes, a Class 3 race over 1000m.

The hulking son of All Too Hard found one better in Elite Power (see other report), but was certainly not disgraced and can bounce back next time out.

Singapore Turf Club

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