Size's brave Dao Dao catches the eye
While there were a number of impressive victors on the opening day, few winners commanded more attention than the John Size-trained Dao Dao did in defeat.
Dao Dao, a big gelding who scaled at over 1,260 pounds, looked very gross in the paddock before the race, yet ran with credit to finish second to the perfectly-ridden Triumphant Diamond (Eric Saint-Martin).
Dao Dao only had three starts in Australia under the tutelage of John Hawkes and won two of them impressively. And his only defeat was a second to Sniper's Bullet, who scarcely damaged the credibility of the formline when he trained on to win the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1,400m) at Eagle Farm in June.
Dao Dao, handled by Douglas Whyte, gave a great sight in the Wan Chai Handicap over 1,400 metres. The big brown travelled strongly and looked the winner at the 200m and it was only lack of hard racing condition that told on him in the concluding stages.
The performance of Dao Dao was just one indication that the Size yard is right back in form, with the four-time champion handler preparing two winners as well.
Earlier, the Size-trained Right Fraar could scarcely have been more impressive in clearing out to win the Class Four mile, while Pocket Money ran right up to his win late last term over the same course and distance.
Size has had a host of horses to the trials in recent weeks and early indications are that the Aussie will set a solid pace in his bid to land a fifth premiership in the space of seven seasons.
The feature race, the HKSAR Chief Executive's Cup (1,200m) saw Sunny Power precisely match the figure that an analyst would have predicted for him on the evidence of his second to Medic Power.
Sunny Power, ridden by Howard Cheng Yue-tin, recorded the equivalent of an international rating of 111 in scoring by a half length from Egyptian Ra, another Saint-Martin mount.
However, while Sunny Power's connections went home with the cash and the silverware, Egyptian Ra gained most of the kudos because shouldering 132 pounds and conceding a full 20 pounds to Sunny Power made his the best performance of the race.
The Jockey Club's English-language racing broadcasts have migrated to Channel 64 on cable television.
Racing To Win, hosted by SCMP guest tipster Darren Flindell and fellow race caller Brett Davis, will be shown at 7pm on the evening before each race meeting.
The Trackside programme, providing live coverage of the racing itself, will begin 30 minutes before the scheduled time of the first race.
ATV World and Home will continue to show Trackside live, albeit with later starts (8pm Wednesdays on World Channel, 12.50pm on weekend meetings on Home Channel) and Racing To Win will be shown around 11.15pm on race eve, after the news.