Claimers good value for Size
Champion trainer puts apprentices to good use in Whyte's absence as So and Lui bring out the best in Turbo Jewellery and Hot Shot
The jury is still out on whether reigning champion trainer John Size's flirtation with claiming jockeys in the past year or two has been a success but it certainly was yesterday as Ben So Tik-hung and Dicky Lui Cheuk-yin were the unlikely stable heroes in Douglas Whyte's absence.
With Whyte suspended, Size had a variety of jockeys on board his representatives and Turbo Jewellery (So) and Hot Shot (Lui) came home with the prize to reclaim the trainer's narrow championship lead.
That lead had chopped and changed all day, with Dennis Yip Chor-hong's early double putting him alongside Size on 42 wins and Tony Cruz joined them both with Bullish Boy's victory.
Turbo Jewellery saw Size edge away again, only to have Cruz level up once more, then Hot Shot's all-the-way final-race win meant everything was back to the way it started - Size on 44 by one from Cruz with another to Yip.
Lui had previously led throughout for Size on Hot Shot this season and the race played out perfectly to give Lui a double for the afternoon.
"Hot Shot is a horse who gives himself every advantage," said Size. "He gets forward, he goes a tempo that suits him and doesn't have to be wrestled to be with the speed. And he runs for the apprentices, which some horses just do.
"When an opportunity presents itself, if the opposition don't challenge him, he's there to punish them."
Turbo Jewellery had been a frustrating horse for Size, registering three seconds since his last 1,600m win early in the season, looking home and hosed several times over longer trips before getting run down late and the return to 1,600m saw him successful again.
"It's not about the distance - I think you could get him to run as far as you want, but those races aren't programmed and he's wanted a decent tempo. He had to come back to 1,600m for that," Size said.
"The problem is that he has had the speed to be in the first two or three to the turn, then has been left out in front for too long in those 1,800m and 2,000m races. Coming back to the mile, he was running sixth instead, the tempo was reasonable and he had horses there beside him all the way to the line as he made his challenge. That suited him better."