A seasonal sniffle was all it took for top trainer John Size to renew an old acquaintance and claim Darren Beadman for the winning ride on Lucky Bravo yesterday.
Recently-graduated Keith Yeung Ming-lun had been booked for the mount in the Long Ke Handicap (1,400m), but Yeung stood down with a touch of flu early in the programme, leaving Size without a jockey.
'I had a look at the list and I didn't need to get any further than Darren's name,' said Size.
'He looked like the obvious option and gave him a great ride.'
Beadman had been a regular and successful pairing with Size during the trainer's career back in Sydney but, as the retained jockey for John Moore, has had few opportunities to team up with Size here.
In fact, Lucky Bravo was only Beadman's 28th ride for Size in Hong Kong, but it's an in-form combination - yesterday's victory was his second in a row for the yard.
'I think the last ride I had for John was National Treasure at Happy Valley when he won - but that was last July,' said Beadman after this success.
'I obviously didn't know a lot about Lucky Bravo and I asked Douglas Whyte if the horse had any tricks I needed to be aware of and he told me 'he's a lovely horse, a lovely ride'.
'So I asked him why he wasn't on it and he said 'I can only ride one lovely horse at a time'.'
Whyte's 'lovely horse' was the favourite Supreme Flight for Tony Millard, who disappointed after a difficult trip from his wide draw, while Lucky Bravo couldn't have had a better run through the race and scrambled in over the Caspar Fownes-trained Best Win.
'I think the jockey change was what beat me,' said Fownes, after Beadman's strength in the final 100m carried Lucky Bravo across the line narrowly in front. Lucky Bravo had support at 14-1 after his form had gone slightly off the boil lately, but Size pointed out there were serious excuses when he finished second last behind Viva Freedom last time.
'He drew 14 barrier and if that wasn't bad enough another horse carried him off the track and took him out of the race.
'So you had to overlook that effort,' Size said.
'He'd been fairly consistent before, but getting such a good run today was the difference.'