3 minute read
The Tim Fitzsimmons-trained Golden Monkey did not fail to bestow great fortune upon supporters who punted him down to favoritism after he won the $110,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m) on Sunday.
That win with visiting jockey Chad Schofield, who earlier won on another Fitzsimmons-trained runner, Fire ($18) in the $75,000 Blizzard 2019 Stakes, a Restricted Maiden race (1200m), on board was testament to a well-thought-out plan by connections for the five-year-old son of Star Turn.
One of two carrying the top impost of 58kgs, Golden Monkey was sent out as the $16 favourite and Schofield made good use of the good barrier four to settle the 2023 Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) winner three back on the fence in the capacity 16-horse field.
Fame Star (Jaden Lloyd) set a good clip early as expected, but with Silent Is Gold (Jamil Sarwi) on the leader's flank and the fancied Street Of Dreams (Ronnie Stewart) one-back on the rails, Schofield was handy enough in relatively clean air.
Luck was still going to play a part, but when Stewart took Street Of Dreams off the heels of Fame Star upon entering the straight and quickly put a length or two on the field, the gap presented itself for Golden Monkey to pounce.
Within a matter of strides at the furlong marker, Golden Monkey easily passed Street Of Dreams to put the race beyond doubt by the 150m, with only the gamed Super Salute (Manoel Nunes) keeping the first two honest to the wire.
The official winning margin over Street Of Dreams was one-and-a-quarter lengths while Super Salute finished another half a length back in third. Golden Monkey recorded a winning time of 1 min 20.78secs for the 1400m on the Short Course, just 0.2 seconds outside Super Ninetyseven's Course record set in 2013, but he also had 6.5 kilos more on his back than the Course record holder.
No doubt, Golden Monkey held a special place in Fitzsimmons' heart.
"I was pretty confident," said Fitzsimmons, who won the Fortune Bowl for the first time.
"I'm pretty aware we are probably the second best horse (to Lim's Kosciuszko) in the country.
"His (Golden Monkey) first-up run (beaten a neck by Silent Is Gold in a Class 1 race over 1200m on 20 January) was massive with 59 kilos and we were really confident he would run well today.
"He was always going to need luck because he was going to be in midfield and there's a lot of traffic in front of him.
"But he (Schofield) rode him perfectly. That's why we fly him in as he's just world-class."
When asked by racing presenter Scott Bailey on what Golden Monkey, who gave Fitzsimmons his first Group 1 win as a trainer, meant to him, the Australian conditioner praised both the horse and the owners.
"He's a beauty," he said of the now five-time Group winner.
"The owners in him are just incredible people. We have become very good friends and (part-owner and principal of Jig Bloodstock) Josh McLoughlan; he just keeps finding them. He does an amazing job and it's just a great team."
Schofield was also in awe of the horse that has given him two Group wins from just two rides.
"I had a lot of horse underneath me," he said.
"It's well known now that the horse enjoys being ridden that way (quiet), so although we had a good draw, we just wanted to keep everything the same with him.
"He's got a really good turn of foot and he was the class horse in that race; hence why he carried the weight.
"We had a lovely run, but the horse still had the turn of foot when I needed it too.
"The horse is going to come on from today. I knew as soon as I looked at him and after going into the gates that he would be hard to beat.
"He looked and felt terrific to me. Well done to Timmy and his team."
Golden Monkey's seventh win from 18 starts took his prizemoney to over $760,000 for the Jig Racing/Elvin Stable.