Size gallopers on the improve at the trials at Sha Tin
John Size unveiled a batch of unraced prospects at Tuesday's dirt trials at Sha Tin, but it was a couple of relatively exposed gallopers who gave the impression they were ready to climb up in the ratings.
Golden Addiction and Grand Plus may seems stranded on their marks, but both showed some zip at the end of 1,200m tests and should equip themselves well next time out - which for both could be on the same all-weather surface.
Grand Plus has shown ability at the trials previously, but after moderate efforts at his first three starts he failed miserably stepping up to the mile for the first time. He finished last of 14 and a veterinary inspection showed no significant findings, although the son of Hard Spun had previously scoped with blood in his trachea in December. The three-year-old's rating has dropped to 47, and maybe that weight relief combined with a switch to the dirt could bring about a turnaround.
With a new jockey aboard in Tommy Berry, Grand Plus settled nicely just worse then midfield in a heat where the leaders Positive Energy (Neil Callan) and Happily Time (Zac Purton) ripped through the early sections. When given a slight squeeze by Berry, Grand Plus moved nicely to the line to score by one and a quarter lengths with plenty in hand, his time of 1.10.25s the best of the three heats over 1,200m.
Golden Addiction has already won twice in his second season, and has been competitive off his new mark with consecutive placings in Class Three. Last start he showed a liking for the dirt with a second behind surface specialist Ole Ole after being pushed from a wide draw into a forward position.
On Tuesday, Joao Moreira got the four-year-old to jump fast but then took a hold to have Golden Addiction sit in a one-out, one-back spot. Moreira didn't push hard and Golden Addiction was only overtaken late by Kabayan, who was given a fair shake-up by Berry.
In the fourth and final trial over 1,050m, Size sent out a trio of Private Purchase Griffins: Shining Champion (Moreira), Dark Core (Karis Teetan) and Syber Warrior (Douglas Whyte), all of whom had trialled on the turf two weeks ago over 800m.
Dark Core and Shining Champion were fired out of the gates and weakened late after sitting on a fast speed, while Syber Warrior may need some ground - he didn't have enough early speed but got home nicely. Also catching the eye late was Tony Cruz-trained import Wah May Baby (Matthew Chadwick).