Glorious day for Dream Team
The Dream Team of Douglas Whyte and John Size is taking all spectator interest out of the championships as early as possible, with the Durban Demon grabbing a four-timer yesterday and Size bookending the card with the type of horses that make title wins.
Whyte was aboard for Size on Classic Jewellery in the first and Glorious Days in the last, and filled in his day in with wins for Derek Cruz on Castle Hero (race two) and David Hall on Nicholson (race six).
That took him already 13 clear of suspended Brett Prebble in the championship, while Size is four clear on the trainers' table.
Soft winners like Classic Jewellery and Glorious Days are the kind of progressive horses that have led Size to six championships in the past. Classic Jewellery, a HK$4.2 million purchase at the Jockey Club's international sale in March, bounced out of a wide barrier, stacked them up in the lead and never looked like being beaten after Size had given him a good grounding for his debut.
'He'd had four trials and was fit and well-schooled and it wasn't that strong a race,' said Size. 'He's a beautiful mover with a lovely action and, in Hong Kong terms, he is a very young horse, so there looks some upside.'
Whyte cautioned the four-length margin might have been flattering.
'A great training effort, first-up at 1,400m. He's been quite a timid horse, even a bit feminine in his build, but John's brought him along patiently and he's delivered,' Whyte said. 'He won by a margin but it is deceiving - once I got the front, I slowed them right down and he only really had to race seriously from the 400m so it wasn't a real test.'
Glorious Days is already looking a high-grade performer of the future, with hollow wins at his only start in New Zealand followed by equalling soft wins at two 1,400m starts here, and the four-year-old shrugged off a weight rise to beat smart Time After Time (Darren Beadman) with ease.
'He gives you a great feel. Darren came at me very quickly in the straight on the second horse and really put mine to the test but I slapped him down the shoulder and he just dropped Time After Time,' Whyte said. It was convincing and he is just loving his racing.'
Size said it was 'very hard to put a limit on him at the moment.'
'For a horse who has had very little racing, he is very professional. He puts himself in a good position even in a race like today, where they did look to be going a good speed. It was probably set up for the best horse to win and he proved to be the best horse.'
Whyte chimed in with the David Hall-trained Nicholson in the Class Four over 1,600m - one of two wins on the day that Prebble missed through suspension and probably the one that really hurt, going to his arch rival.
Nicholson took advantage of the first good barrier draw he has had in seven starts - previously the only time he had drawn lower than gate nine was up the straight 1,000m course where low draws are a disadvantage.
'I was only too pleased when David called me to ride him and I was able to have him a bit closer from the better draw,' Whyte said. 'He's still got some development to come mentally - he wants the blinkers but at the same time he doesn't want them - he finds things to look at but can still be headstrong. That will do him some good today.'
Hall said he foresaw Nicholson's future over longer than this trip.
'Physically, he looks a stayer and you look at his breeding and it tells you the same,' he said. 'Really his form has been solid but today he got a draw and that was the difference.'
The number of wins John Size has racked up -four ahead of Danny Shum Chap-shing in the trainers' table