Entrapment leaves Size savouring the moment
John Size is an old-fashioned, unfussed professional horse trainer, who has seen enough to know that the really special moments are rare, and just enough to know that one of those moments came with Entrapment's return from a mystery problem to keep his unbeaten record intact in the Sha Tin Sprint Trophy.
Seven from seven during the 2009-10 season, Entrapment (Douglas Whyte) had nothing in his favour after 15 months away from racing yesterday, but took the first Group sprint of the season with ears pricked and blue sky ahead.
'No doubt that was one of the most memorable moments of my life - I certainly felt humbled by the experience, watching him win like that,' said Size, who normally spills over into emotion like China spills into Scotland, but had a quiet cry in his voice. 'His character, his determination and the love for racing that he showed. All I do is look after him, and nurse him along and try to keep him out of harm's way but when he hits the race track, he's on his own and he loves it.'
Entrapment had been preparing to commence a new campaign in late October last year when he was suddenly afflicted with a mystery injury to his left hind leg, dragging it and unable to properly control the leg.
'Gee, he can train a bit this John Size,' said Whyte after the first-up win. 'I'll never forget when it first happened - I asked him to explain it and he said he couldn't, that it was a freak thing and they would never explain it. I thought it was a bold statement at the time, but they had all the vets they could find look at it and true enough, it's still a mystery.'
Despite a number of regular speed horses engaged up the straight 1,000m, the pace failed to live up to its promise and that was the first of Size's expectations to fail.
'To be honest, I thought they would go quicker and he'd have trouble keeping up and probably run a nice fourth or fifth but I would have been happy with that and having a horse to go on with,' Size (pictured) said. 'But he didn't want to know about that - they didn't go quick enough for his liking, and he was able to dominate the race.'
Entrapment, racing fresh and keen, literally pulled his way up into the race before halfway mark and Whyte had a lap full of horse all the race before seeing off the late charge of Sacred Kingdom (Zac Purton) in the final stages.
'I'd been on the back of Dim Sum for the first 300m but, by the time we got to the junction, he was no use to me and I had to get off his back,' said Whyte. 'Entrapment just wanted to go forward and hit the front and pricked his ears. When Sacred Kingdom came, he had every opportunity to get past and my horse just wasn't letting him by. Although I was getting plenty of weight off Sacred Kingdom, for my horse to be so tough after a year off was amazing.'