Weather could ruin Glorious Days' chances
John Size believes rain on race day is a serious threat to his rising star Glorious Days capturing a maiden Group One race in Tokyo on Sunday, in a Yasuda Kinen the trainer suggested might be down on star power compared to previous years.
Rain is forecast from today through until Monday, and a soggy surface would seriously harm Glorious Days' chances in the 100 million yen (HK$9.8 million) event, according to Size, who rescheduled his horse's final gallop to yesterday to avoid possible wet weather.
'He wouldn't like a rain-affected track, that is not a good surface for him,' Size said. 'He would rather have the track fast or firm. He doesn't travel well on a shifty surface. If there's no rain on Sunday that should be fine, but on raceday that would have some effect.'
As Glorious Days progressed through the grades, the last of his four straight wins for Size was his least impressive, the four-year-old battling to a short-head victory in a Class One handicap on ground rated good to yielding.
Jockey Douglas Whyte, who rides again on Sunday, cited the shifting surface at Sha Tin as the reason for the seemingly sub-par effort.
Since then he has been runner-up in open company on three straight occasions and, if the rain stays away, Size may have found a suitable race in which to break through at the top level.
The trainer drew parallels between Glorious Days and Armada, his runner-up in the 2008 Yasuda, and suggested this year's race might not be as tough.
'I think Armada had similar ability to Glorious Days and they arrived here off similar Hong Kong ratings,' he said.
'Armada was rated 128 at home, and Glorious Days is 126, although Armada had more racing. The only factor that is different between the two horses and their trips away is that this time that Vodka is not here,' Size said, referring to Katsuhiko Sumii's wonder mare who beat Armada in both 2008 and 2009.
Japanese milers are typically strong, but this year the local contingent looks relatively unimposing; 2011 winner Real Impact is coming off a poor outing, and there is some doubt about the class of the in-form runners.
'The race looks quite open,' opined Size. 'There's no particular runner we could point to and say we are scared of, where in the past we have had such cases.'
Glorious Days completed a typical Size workout of a steady 600m gallop in around 39 seconds yesterday on Tokyo's inner dirt circuit.
'It was routine work but he seemed to work well and he pulled up well,' Size said. 'He won't work fast again, he'll just do light exercise. His weight seems to be stable, he is eating well. He seems to have a good temperament and he is relaxed.'
Fellow traveller Lucky Nine worked impressively on Wednesday and backed that up yesterday. Trackwork rider Dale Bussey slow-cantering the tough gelding nearly two laps of the 2,000m dirt track.
Trainer Caspar Fownes arrives today to watch a turf gallop aimed at having his five-year-old fine-tuned for the big day. 'He was moving very freely, for him, and felt a little bit sharper,' Bussey said.
'He needed the work as he didn't do much at home. The gallop on Wednesday switched him on a little bit and one more piece of work will clean him up beautifully.'