Size unfazed by Entrapment's shock defeat
Entrapment's unbeaten run came to an end in the Premier Bowl, but the sprinter lost no caste for the international events ahead and trainer John Size was clearly tending to the philosophical side.
'Well, if you're going to get beaten, that's probably as good a way to do it as any,' said Size, after one of his own long-priced runners in the Group Two feature, Rich Unicorn, stormed down the middle of the track to grab Little Bridge (Zac Purton) and Entrapment (Douglas Whyte) in the final 100m and score by a neck.
At Entrapment's ninth start, the end of his perfect record shocked racegoers but not his trainer or jockey and equally neither was fazed looking ahead.
'I thought Entrapment was always going to have a problem with the draw. I thought before the meeting it could be some issue and perhaps I got my just desserts for thinking that,' Size said. 'A little bit inferior ground, a little bit held up in the straight and those things were enough for the margin that he was beaten. I don't think he was flat coming back second up from the win after a long break - if he was flattened, he wouldn't look unlucky and wouldn't run third. To my mind, he has held his rating.'
After parking in the box seat behind Multiglory, with Little Bridge outside the leader, Entrapment was slightly held up at the top of the straight but Whyte felt it was of minor consequence.
'The way the track was working out today, gate one wasn't ideal - they all seemed to be coming into the straight at the same time and compacting, not spreading out - but having said that, I was out with ample time from the 300m and I thought I would pick up Little Bridge,' the rider said. 'I agree that he has held his form from the last run but he was a little bit fizzy today and maybe just the second-up syndrome did count against him. He has still got plenty of room for improvement - I'm sure Rich Unicorn will never beat him again.'
The pair will have a rematch but under set-weight conditions in the Cathay Pacific Jockey Club Sprint next month and winning rider Mark du Plessis is under no illusions at the task ahead.
'I'm sure the light weight had a lot to do with it today but I think it was a clever piece of training running Rich Unicorn up the straight last time, then bringing him back to the turn,' he said.
'He is a bit of a thinker the horse and that got him to settle better and keep his mind on the job. He still ran about in the straight but that's just him.'
Size said he believed a kinder surface played a big role in the upset 64-1 win which continued a tradition in the Premier Bowl - no favourite has won it in its brief history.
'As he has got high in the ratings, Rich Unicorn has struggled with firm tracks and hasn't stretched out the last 100m. Because he got some sort of track condition today, he got his head down and got to the line,' he said.
'He looked the winner as soon as he came out to make his run in the straight. The handicapper has got him now and he'll have to head towards the big races with his rating.'