Jockey Olivier Placais had a good reason to stick his whip in his back pocket like an antenna during Super Fortune’s barrier trial on Tuesday – to resist the temptation of reaching for it in the concluding stages.
The French rider knows the son of Mossman like the back of his hand. Having partnered the former Sydney sprinter at all his 11 local starts for five wins, he knows which buttons to push – and not to push.
One of Super Fortune’s quirks is his tendency to loaf around when he hits the front too soon – a foible which has cost him a couple of races in the past.
Super Fortune (Olivier Placais, right) returns from his barrier trial alongside Zac Kasa (Craig Grylls), picture Singapore Turf Club
Placais wanted to just encourage the horse he called his “pet horse” without having to resort to the stick this time. Besides, he said there was no need to go hard on a “100% fit” horse.
As the Alwin Tan-trained gelding came off his third spot to test race-leader and Lion City Cup runner-up Zac Kasa (Craig Grylls), Placais was seen just giving a few taps on the neck with his hand, even stroking the mane late just to coax his mount to the line, minus the sting of a whip.
The horse known as Man To Love in Sydney and winner of one Maiden race at Kembla Grange steadily wore Zac Kasa down before gaining the upperhand by half-a-length. Sir Isaac (Michael Rodd) ran third another 2 ¾ lengths away.
“He didn’t stop this morning, he was very good through the line,” said Placais.
“He jumped well and I wanted to drop him off instead of bustling him up like last time. He was fresh, ready and fit, and he didn’t need another race to top him off.
“I held him up, and he moved very well between runners. I didn’t have my whip in hand as I wanted to just use hands and heels to get him over the line if he stopped.
“He kept going very well and I can’t ask for any better from that trial.”
Model of consistency Super Fortune (Olivier Placais) at the last of his five wins on March 9, 2018, picture Singapore Turf Club
Placais said Tan would enter Super Fortune in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1100m on Polytrack next Sunday week (August 19). At his last start on July 6, he just failed to catch Mr Fantastic, falling short by a neck in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m.
“We would have preferred a turf race for him, but there was none coming up,” said Placais.
“He raced only once on Polytrack and did quite well to run second to Skywalk in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m last December.
“He’s in top shape. I would say he could even run over 1000m. He has the speed to keep up with the quicker horses as you could see in today’s trial, even if I know race conditions are different.
“The horse is well and I can only hope he bounces back to the winner’s circle next week.”