A Special Day for Size after gelding steps up a grade
John Size happily admits being pleasantly surprised by the development of Special Days, and the much-improved New Zealand-bred gelding added another extension to his upward form graph.
Having moved into Class One but still shouldering topweight of 133 pounds, despite racing a crack field of Hong Kong Derby graduates, there was no place to hide for Special Days. And as it turned out, none was needed.
The five-year-old sat three wide from the outset but jogged up to challenge for the lead at the 250 metres. But then a quality four-year-old, Roma Pegasus, issued a proper challenge and made him battle for the prize - the Victoria Racing Club Trophy.
'Up till now, he's been winning on his ability, but today he had to fight for it,' said Size.
'He quickened up nicely and got there early and, with 133, he was there to be beaten. He's had to fight for it today so it was a good win, full credit to him.'
With six wins, four seconds and two thirds from 18 starts, Special Days is racking up the record of a superior horse and it leaves Size in something of a quandary as to where to go with him now.
'There are two more races over a mile on the 120-100 band before the end of the season,' Size said.
'But he's getting to a pretty tough place in the ratings now, there's no denying that.'
Douglas Whyte won his second race on Special Days and redeemed himself in the eyes of the members of Tom Brown's Syndicate, who had a clear preference for Felix Coetzee as their jockey last season. 'It was just one of those things, that Felix got on the horse when Douglas was suspended and he won three races on him, so naturally they had an inclination Felix's way,' Size said.
'But I think the day that turned it all around for this horse was the day Gerald Mosse rode him and he missed the start. Because of that, he was ridden back, he relaxed well and it was his most impressive win - we learned a lot from that race.'
Brett Prebble thought a hold-up at a vital stage might have cost Roma Pegasus the race, but he wasn't about to take anything away from Special Days.
'He's run very well and was probably a bit unlucky,' Prebble said. 'Overall, I think his best distance will probably be a mile because he just wants to travel a bit too keenly at 2,000 metres.'
Fearless made late ground to take third from favourite Mr Medici, who was all the rage after his third to Collection and Thumbs up in the Derby.