Probability Theory

Punters now wise to Size's highly educated debutants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am


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John Size trains winners like pigeons poop on statues - it all just seems so natural and with such an air of inevitability.

And his patient handling to give Can Do so much practice before racing, among many others before him, shows off one particular aspect of the pooping where he has it all over most of his rivals - getting horses to win on debut.

Getting Private Purchases to win first-up here is a tough ball game - they are horses with known ability but also overcoming the culture shock of getting here after they have already experienced stable life somewhere else and in a kinder environment. Very few actually manage it, normally no more in any season than you can count on the fingers of one hand. And that's if you're missing a digit or two.

Expectations are usually higher with unraced horses but we see so many griffins trotted out at short odds on debut each season only to be bowled over, that it is clear that getting one to win on a racecourse debut is also a serious task, even if they look to have above-average ability.

Size has been as good at it as anyone and Can Do was his seventh debut winner this season alone. His last 176 Hong Kong debutants of both kinds, stretching back to September 2004, have yielded 28 winners but that trims to 19 out of 87 for those ridden by Douglas Whyte.

Alas, the bad news is that, unlike Size's earlier days when future Group One winners like Armada and Sight Winner arrived on debut at odds of 22-1 and 14-1, the betting market now is wide awake to his talents and short odds are more the order of the day for Size debutants.