Fortune favours Bold Thruster
Clements has him fine-tuned for Sunday's 1,400m feature
Fortune favours the brave and, here at Kranji, Bold Thruster and Countofmontecristo have been long-time members of that club.
Making up two-thirds of trainer Michael Clements' three-pronged attack in Sunday's Fortune Bowl - his other runner being Gingerella - both money-spinners were in their element on the training track yesterday morning.
As is Clements' preferred style, Bold Thruster had two bites of the cherry, clocking 42sec for his first sprint over the 600m and, after a brief rest, running the same distance in an impressive 35sec on the Polytrack.
As for "The Count", he stretched out nicely, returning 36.3sec for his spin over the 600m on Track 6.
A beaten favourite in the New Year Cup, Bold Thruster stood flat-footed when the starter released them and was a drop-dead last for most of the trip.
But, like all good horses - and he ranks as one of the best - he stared adversity in the eye and never gave up the fight.
If anything, he ran a blinder over the concluding stages of that 1,200m contest to take third spot.
It was one of the best fightbacks we had seen for a long while but he had given the front-runner, Nowyousee, and runner-up Skywalk too big a lead to chase down.
With the Fortune Bowl to be run over the 1,400m, Bold Thruster is in unknown territory as he has yet to run a race longer than the 1,200m.
But it's high time he shows us what he can do over the longer trip and, by my reckoning, the distance should suit him just fine.
As for Countofmontecristo, what can I say? He's a class act - much like his namesake in that Alexandre Dumas classic.
A full-fledged member of Kranji's Million-Dollar Club - he's cashed in close to $1.7 million, and the bank's still open - "The Count" has yet to show up in 2020.
But Clements has made sure he hasn't been lolling about the stable doing nothing.
Countofmontecristo has had two trials in the new year and, in both those outings, he was never asked to do more than was necessary.
Indeed, in that last one on Jan 16, Michael Rodd had the patience of Job. With Bold Thruster showing the way, Rodd kept "The Count" in a spot just off midfield and they were four-wide on straightening.
With Bold Thruster home and hosed at the 200m mark, Rodd fashioned a run on his mount and they closed in nicely to take second - just half a length behind their stablemate.
"The Count" relishes the big stage. The 2017 Jumbo Jet Trophy's on the mantlepiece and, as recently as last August, he added the Merlion Trophy to his stash.
Bold Thruster looks the more fancied of of the Clements' runners in Sunday's $175,000 feature but, if you plan to rule out Countofmontecristo, do so at your own peril.