Friday Flash – 10th November 2023

Headline News

Fortuna Owners Day 2023 is scheduled for Sunday 10th December –
Melbourne Cup Overview


Fortuna has 6 runners this weekend, 3 in NZ and 2 in Singapore on Saturday and 1 in Victoria on Sunday

NZ – Te Rapa

BELLATRIX STAR  runs in the 2yo 1000m – Race 1 @ 12.50 and will be ridden by Niranjan Parmar, claiming 1kg, from a good barrier. A strong winning performance on debut at Whanganui in September marked this daughter of Star Witness as one to watch. Has been freshened since that race, has trialed strongly at Te Rapa 31st October – is ready for this and can win in what will be a very competitive race – showing $2.40 fixed odds

BELLATRIX STAR – all action – closing stages  –  Wanganui 2nd September 2023

INCA BELLE races in the R65 1200 metre event – Race 5 @ 3.11pm with Niranjan Parmar, claiming 1kg,  from the ace Barrier. Resuming here off a long break, she has had two trials to prepare and is down in grade. Won her first three races in a row at the start of her career – has trialed strongly ahead of this – represents a top 3 chance here @ $6.50/$2.40

NZ – Riccarton

DANCARINA  contests the Pegasus Stakes (Listed) over 1000m – Race 5 @ 2.15pm with the inform Warren Kennedy to ride from the outside draw down the Riccarton chute. Good consistent form during the winter months culminated in a strong winning performance at Avondale in September. Freshened since, she trialed strongly 31st Oct at Te Rapa. Up in Class her, but not out of it and represents great value @ $26/$6  Needs some luck in the running, but if she gets it can feature

Singapore – Saturday

KING ARTHUR races in the Class 1 1200m Turf event – race 7 @ 3.15pm Sing time (8.15pm NZT) with Stable apprentice S Jamil, claiming 3kgs, to ride from a mid field barrier. Not seen on the track since May 20th (when he was ridden by jockey of the moment Mark Zahra) – this due to a slight injury, which required box reast and rehab, he has steadily worked back to fitness, trialed strongly last week and is ready to resume. The highest rated horse in the race (Rating 104) he is giving weight (in most cases significant weight) to his rivals. Not known for winning performances fresh, he may well need this run to get back to winning form.

Here is what the Singapore Turf Club tipsters have to say about this race

1st Pick: GOLDEN MONKEY (2)
Blinkers go back on one of our highest rated horses of the past two seasons. Has been freshened up since his 3.4 length fourth placing to Lim’s Kosciuszko. Draws well and will be taking a sit ready to fire. Looks the goods here.
2nd Pick: KHARISMA (3)
Huge performance in the Group 3 Merlion Trophy last start coming from well back on the turn to run fourth in a tight finish. Well weighted and could spring up a surprise here.
3rd Pick: KING ARTHUR (1)
Placed at Group 1 level in the past and sits at the top of the ratings here. Not seen at the races since May and has had an injury issue after his last run. He’s a great sprinter but fitness is a query.
4th Pick: SILENT IS GOLD (10)
Looks the best of those down in the weights for this field. Did lead up a class one field two starts ago but doubt he can lead up Fame Star. If he gets a nice cart into the race the lightweight is vital to his chances.

KNIPPENBERG contests the Class 3 1200m Turf event – Race 12 @ 5.55pm Sing time (10.55pm NZT) with Ronnie Stewart to ride from Barrier 9. A strong performer in Singapore with 3 wins, 3 2nds and a 3rdfrom 10 starts, he was completely luckless at his last start, getting badly interfered with at the 800m. Meets a good field here but is up to it and represents a good top 3 chance.

Here is what the Singapore Turf Club tipsters have to say about this race

1st Pick: CITY GOLD STAR (5)
Nunes has taken this ride over Lord’s Command who he has had a good association with. That must fill you with some confidence and he beat Dream Alliance who faces the starter in the Gold Cup.
2nd Pick: KNIPPENBERG (7)
Didn’t have much luck in his most recent start behind Asif who he faces again this weekend. Drawn ideal to position up and let the strong early speed bring him into the race.
3rd Pick: LORD’S COMMAND (9)
Gets into this race nicely off the back of a successful start to his Singapore career. Draws nicely in gate two and will be up there looking a threat for a long way.
4th Pick: RENZO (1)
Very good performance at Group 3 level last start on the Polytrack to finish fourth. Gets into the race nicely back in class with Rozlans claim. Better on the Polytrack but has won on the turf.

Victoria – Ararat – Sunday

M’SIEUR BEAU GESTE races for the 2nd time in Victoria when he contests the BM 70 Highweight over 3800 at Ararat on Sunday – Race 4 @  3pm Aus time (5pm Singapore times) and will be re-united with Dean Parker as rider (Dean has ridden him for 3 of his 6 careewr wins to date). A free running effort at Mornington 27th October over 3000m saw him finish in 5th place – just getting warm at the finish in that event, he will appreciate the extra 800m this time, although is facing a stronger field. We are aiming to qualify him for the Jericho Cup (4600m 3rd December) and this race is part of that process. Hard to line up the form, but has thrived since his last outing and is a chance to run in the money @ $26/$5


Matamata Trackwork

Thursday 9th November

Inca Belle (J KAmaruddin) galloped over an easy 1000 metres in 1.10.2, final 600 in 40.4.

Singapore Trackwork 

Saturday 4th November


Tuesday 7th November




Fortuna Owners Day 2023 is scheduled for Sunday 10th December

Yes it’s that time of the year again – the occasion of our very popular Owners Day where we will review the successes of the past 12 months, mix and meet and we will be parading all of the Matamata based horses

Venue – Epsom Lounge – Matamata Racecourse

Time – 1pm to 4pm

Refreshments provided

Note that it is important to register your attendance as we need that for catering – please email or call/text 021 288 6997

Melbourne Cup Overview

All Melbourne Cups are special and the 2023 version fitted the mould perfectly with great weather, a huge happy crowd and an emphatic result for Without A Fight – rider Mark Zahra certainly pulled the right rein there didn’t he, getting off last year’s winner Gold Trip to ride Without A Fight. The horse himself is pretty special achieving the Caufield/Melbourne Cups double – last done in the early 2000’s by the Sir Peter Vela owned and Sheila Laxon trained Ethereal – notable that the Cups Double has only been done 12 times in the 163 year history of the Melbourne Cup

As for Mark Zahra, incredible to think that if he had not been a naughty boy and gone partying during the Covid era lockdowns, he would have ridden Verry Elleegant in 2021 (he was stood down and replaced by James MacDonald) and would have had three Melbourne Cups in succession on three different horses!!!

So how common is it for riders to score in successive Melbourne Cups? Well it is not unprecedented – Glen Boss rode three is a row on the same horse, Makybe Diva, 2003-05, but then you have to go back to Harry White who won in 1978 (Arwon) and 1979 (Hyperno) repeating a previous double in 1974/75 when he rode the NZ bred Think Big (by Sobig). Jim Johnson did the double in 1968/69 on Rain Lover, Jack Purtell achieved the successive year double on two different horses – Wodalla in 1953 and the mighty Rising Fast in 1954 – this following a three decade gap since Titch Wilson was successful on King Ingoda and Bitali in 1922/23, preceded by Albert Shanahan on Piastro and Posinatus in 1912/13 and last but not least, John Cutts rode the legendary Archer to success in the inaugural Melbourne Cup  in 1861 and repeated the feat in 1862.

So Mark Zahra joins a select group of riders who have pulled off (a) a double in the Melbourne Cup and an even smaller group who have done the double on two different horses. Talking of Mark, he rode King Arthur for us in Singapore in May (without success I must say) – see picture below

Mark Zahra with John Galvin – Kranji 20th May 2023

Turning to betting strategy, how did our readers go on Tuesday? Please feel free to share any success stories with me. Yours truly had a degree of success with Without A Fight being my A selection. I had the 2nd horse, Soulcombe in the mix so got the Quinella – I also had the 4th horse, but sadly, not the 3rd and do missed out on the Trifecta and First 4 (which paid over $300k – ouch!!!) – so a profitable day, but no cigar in the end.

And what a great result for Te Akau Racing with the Waikato Stud owned Skew Iff delivering in a Group race on Cup Day in the hands of Opie Bosson


Guest Selector – Gary Williams

Gary delivered the VRC Derby winner last Saturday, only by a nose but a winner all the same – and Roger That ran into the money at Tauranga at juicy place odds – and at Flemington on Cup Day he found the winner and the 4th horse in the Cup – here is what he says this week

Hi John and Team
Well Cup week on both sides of the Tasman is sure living up to expectations with some great racing and the bigger pools give some decent ‘exotics’ divies. Like you I went within a whisker of winning big off the Melbourne Cup. After 2 of my 4 Cup selections ran in the top 4 along with my ‘system’ of taking the field for 4th ….I needed it for third ! Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. !
I pen this just as James McDonald completes the Derby/Oaks double but his horses are sure short on the tote.
He has another good book for Saturday and I’ll be basing my exotics around his rides along with Craig Williams. Maybe they will fill the placings behind Imperatriz !

In Race 2 Craig Williams rides Our Last Cash, aptly named, at some value  @$11 / $3
In Race 8, I willl stick with Westwind Blows, short at $3.
At Waikato I’m picking the Tangerine/Fortuna will provide the quinella in Race 1, while Race 3 Chris Wood could follow suit with Alfriston @ $3 is a huge chance while stablemate Jack The Lass @ $3.50 the place will be storming home late.
Race 8  the Group performer Polygon @$5.50 has no form but will improve from now on but I have a sneaky for Wolfgang @ $31 /$8, who has surprised previously.He actually clearly beat Polygon last start and drops in weight for this !!!
Riccarton gets its day in the sun and hopefully weather is OK this year.
Yes I shouldn’t tip maidens but Race 3 Mogul @ $5 /$2 looks a standout.
Race 4, Zacat @$10/$4looks some value for trainer /jockey Sam Wynne.
Race 5 Lincoln’s Kruz @ $15 /$4 strikes a strong field but he sped away in this last year !
Race 7 Nest Egg @ $7/$2 ]ticks a lot of boxes and I like Mahrajaan @ $4.50 place]as a quinella chance.
Race 8 Good Oil @ $4 /$2 is clearly that !
Race 9 The Guineas sees the topweight a real hot fav but I think Burn to Shine @$12 / $2.50 should relish the 1600m and provide the quinella.
I’ve been saving for this week all year and I know that any bad luck will be rectified at 2x big days Harness and another 2 days Riccarton [plus Ashburton trots as well].
Will it be 60 second noodles or Steak at the Ritz – Pray for me

Gary Williams