Size puts faith in Armada

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am

The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile has not been a race to help John Size sleep happily at night, but the dominant trainer over the past seven seasons is not taking it lying down.

He has finished second three times - twice with Electronic Unicorn and two years ago with Sunday's hopeful Armada.

'I'm good at getting beaten in this and there has been a sad tale each time, but I'm persevering,' he grinned wryly. 'I've won the QE II Cup, also an international, but it is about time I won one of these. I've never had much luck in the December races.'

Only one seven-year-old has won the Mile - The Duke, who nosed out Armada - but Armada is not the average seven-year-old with just 16 starts.

'He had a long time off racing and has never been overtaxed,' Size (pictured) said. 'He does feel older - he's fairly quiet at home - but when you ask him to gallop or race he seems to have plenty of energy. I would have liked another run in him but I shouldn't complain too much, given that he is unbeaten second-up.'

Enthused has been the emerging talent in Size's yard, but the trainer has not been surprised.

'His consistency told you he had something in reserve or wasn't doing his best because he could run the same race every day, borne out by of the number of placings he ran,' Size said. 'But he won his final race last season emphatically, went out on a high and came back flying. He should have won all four this time. He has to step up but the platform he has built couldn't be better.'

Sight Winner was rated 100-1 for the Cup by some bookies but Size has more enthusiasm: 'He has not taken a backward step since his first day. He was well and truly beaten when second in the Mile Trial, but it was still his best run. I'm hoping for some more improvement and he can run in the money.'