Size racks up quick-fire milestone
John Size's progressive four-year-old Sight Winner has been full of surprises and yesterday he added one more by providing the Aussie with the fastest 400 career winners in Hong Kong racing history.
'To be honest I had no idea - when the horse won, somebody grabbed me and told me about the 400 wins,' remarked the laid-back Size, who had set himself up winning two races earlier with Slow Waltz as the first half of his double.
'It's one of those things, it's always nice to get another milestone.'
Size has achieved the feat in just 61/2 years since his arrival for the 2001-02 term, averaging out nicely at some 65 winners a year - a number that Size himself described as a tough one to keep doing in this environment after he had won the first of his four championships, but consistency has been the hallmark of Size's time at Sha Tin.
Sight Winner was just one of four victories for Felix Coetzee in his role warming the stable riding job for the suspended Douglas Whyte, but the South African was wary of the four-year-old gelding's habit of shifting in sharply and surprising his riders, too, which is the very reason why the champion jockey is on the sidelines.
'Yes, he does it and there's no bones about it - he really is a handful but you know he's done it for Douglas, he's done it with me and he's going to do it again next time,' Coetzee said.
'I missed a run between them which would have allowed me to have just one or two horses on my inside and then I had to go wider to make my run and have a couple more under me, so it was a concern when he shifted in.
'Fortunately, he got clear enough to do it with safety this time, and I tell you what, when he did find the rail, he gave me another kick.'
Size said the horse's habit of ducking in sharply when he clears the field in the straight might be a concern for his jockeys but not for him.
'Well, he isn't getting beaten because of it. Four wins from five starts is hard to do, so you'd have to say that the habit hasn't come against him,' Size said.
'But he's a nice progressive sort of horse, I do think he'll run a bit further than the 1,600 metres but he's still a bit keen.
'He wasn't too happy early until he got cover and he got away with that today but he won't get away with it when he goes up a grade.'