'Include Specialist in Derby'
Leading trainer John Size hopes Real Specialist's upward scope and obvious promise will be enough to sway the selection panel to include him in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby field when it is announced on Wednesday.
The gelding took his record to five starts for three wins and two seconds with a gritty Singapore Turf Club Trophy win at 1,800m under 130 pounds, and Size plans to back him up again next weekend and again in the Derby the following week if he makes the cut.
With a rating that will only be in the mid-80s, even after yesterday's win, Real Specialist is borderline at best in terms of ratings, but his six-time champion trainer, who is headed for a seventh from 11 seasons this term, made no bones about where the panel's discretionary powers should be aimed.
'I'm sure he's the type of horse the Jockey Club wants in the race. Lightly raced, he's in winning form right now and improving. He wants the 2,000m and his record already looks pretty good,' Size said. 'Frankly, where I think he is going to be in six months' time, everyone might be a little embarrassed looking back if he didn't make the field. Maybe even a week from now it might look like a mistake.'
Real Specialist had been caught off the track last start over 1,600m, but Douglas Whyte said he made a point of being more positive stepping to 1,800m.
'Obviously the pace was slower at the extra distance so I was more positive and able to posse up in a nice comfortable rhythm just behind them,' he said. 'I felt that he threw his race away the last two times, just losing concentration when it got down to a fight. The margin didn't look anything flash but all I did was keep him going, and if I had pulled my stick through to my right hand, or needed him to make a dash, he'd have gone around again. He is getting better and further is really going to suit him.'
Size wrapped up a double with Real Specialist after The Peak had gone ahead leaps and bounds from his debut win to take the third race easily.
'Typically of John - the horse was so much better mentally, physically for that first race,' Whyte said. 'First-up, he was new and didn't know what was happening. Today he came out running and knew what it was all about and when he let down, wow, he really went.'