No fireworks on ordinary day for Size and Whyte
A day that promised a whole lot more for the Dream Team of Douglas Whyte and John Size boiled down to just a double and even that looked in the realms of the unlikely on the home turn of the eighth event.
Riding hot favourite Hot Shot, Whyte found himself pocketed with Maxime Guyon (King Of Scots) making an early move around him and Cheetah Boy coming back in his lap, just at the moment the Durban Demon wanted to be getting mobile.
'He was up handy in the last run at 1,800m and I thought I would be in the first four or five again today,' Whyte said later. 'But with a good speed, Hot Shot was always just battling to go the pace early. The first time he started to travel was as we got to the home turn and that was when he got held up.'
Whyte's supporters, who had precious little to show for the jockey's strongly fancied rides up until that point of the meeting, must have been resigned to tearing up tickets again, but the South African champion got Hot Shot going again and arrived in the nick of time to claim victory.
'It was a good effort in the cirucmstances to win - just another classic John Size bit of training. This horse just keeps improving and going ahead,' Whyte said. 'I think he'll be suited by even further than 1,800m now and I've always said that a horse that can stay and has a bit of turn of foot, as Hot Shot showed today, then they do probably win a race or two more than their raw ability would allow if they are sprinters.'
It was Hot Shot's third win from his past five starts and he now has a terrific record of having missed the first four only once 11 starts.
'He certainly looked like he wasnt going to win when he struck the traffic problems,' said Size. 'He still struggles a bit to keep pace and travel. He relished the good tempo but wasn't in a position to take full advantage of it after what happened.
'He'll still be in Class Three next time and there's a 2,000m available so we might try him at that.'
While the trainer has always had his reservations about how far Hot Shot can go, his second winner Flying Blue was able to enjoy the absence of Captain Sweet this time to take the final event in real comfort as an odds-on favourite.
'He's run into a pretty good horse twice and this was Flying Blue's third start in Hong Kong, so he's probably had time to be better acclimatised now, too,' said Size. 'What was important was that he settled better today. Both his other runs, he has drawn gate three and, particularly last time, had to be pushed early to maintain a good position. That made him get a bit keen.
'Today with the luxury of gate nine, he was able to come across without being bustled and he relaxed better.' With the four-year-old classic races looming and Flying Blue's rating heading into the 80s after this victory, Size said he would have to give consideration to the Classic Mile next month.
'We'll see what sort of figure he is on when that comes around but he is the right age to run so it's possible.'
Not so luxurious
The Dream Team of John Size and Douglas Whyte expected a lot more winners than this yesterday: 2