Brave, beaten but unbowed was how John Size-trained Sight Winner and Armada arrived back at Sha Tin yesterday from their unplaced runs in Sunday's Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo.
Size said both horses came through their runs without any harm after Sight Winner was sixth and Armada eighth to star mare Vodka, and they are already home and headed for a spell.
'Last year, I don't think Armada was helped by having to hang around for two weeks after the race there, but to my surprise this time they were on a plane Tuesday,' Size said. 'I think getting home so quickly will be better for them, looking ahead.'
From wide draws, both horses figured prominently in the race, with Armada racing in the first few early before the workload kicked in over the final stages, and Sight Winner loomed to join the lead at the 300m.
'They were both brave efforts. Armada had to do too much work but showed good speed and Sight Winner didn't seem totally comfortable on the track,' Size said.
'The track surface was a bit rough, a surface he hadn't encountered before so it was a good effort after being in the firing line and it was his 12th run for the season without any break,' he said.
'What pleased me was that both travelled pretty well to the foreign environment - Armada was good again after last year's experience and Sight Winner was quite good and looked like he would be better again next time.'
The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile in December will be the next target for Sight Winner but Size wasn't as clear cut about Armada.
'Sight Winner's path is fairly straightforward, there aren't many options for him, but I'm going to have a bit of a think about Armada and what he'll do next season,' Size said.