1,400-metre specialists handed a raw deal when it comes to prestigious contests

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, 12:00am

John Size doesn't waste many words in contemplation, but he did highlight one of the (many) odd quirks of racing on Sunday. In a town where the most frequently contested distance is 1,400m, only the recent elevation of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup has allowed for one decent 1,400m race a year.

In a performance that would have been right at home in Group One class, Dao Dao had just won brilliantly at 1,400m, prompting Size (pictured) to suggest it might be the horse's best trip - then adding we might never know, as proper tests in the top grade are so rare at 1,400m.

Normally, we would accept that in the confines of Hong Kong's limited programme, there cannot be unlimited opportunities for all distances, tracks and surfaces, but when 1,400m races account for almost 20 per cent of the races run all season and obviously a much higher proportion of turf races at Sha Tin, it does seem odd that there are so few important 1,400m races. Only four actually - the lone Group One, three Group Threes and eight Class Ones.

On the other hand, there are 95 races at 1,600m but seven of them are Group races, including four Group Ones. Go to 2,000m, and there are just 18 per season but we have room for no less than four Group Ones and a Group Two - but no Class Ones.

Then of course the grand-daddy of programming quirks will always be 2,400m - only three a year, all at Group level and two of them Group Ones.