John Size is in danger of turning the trainers’ title race into a hollow eighth championship win after slipping 10 victories clear with four wins from five runners at Sha Tin yesterday – even one winner he could hardly give away.
“I didn’t have a ride and John sent me a message – ‘Do you want to ride a winner?’,” said Brett Prebble after putting the icing on the Size cake with Sergeant Titanium in the final event. “I guess it came down to a process of elimination but it was a nice way to end a day when I got my rear end kicked most of the afternoon.”
Size had earlier won with Momentum Lucky (Silvestre de Sousa), Diego Kosta (Joao Moreira) and Amazing Kids (Ryan Moore), with heavily backed Super Silks in race six finishing third as a the black sheep of the trainer’s runners.
“I was pretty confident that Sergeant Titanium would run well and I couldn’t find a jockey, and I went through a few, before I got to Brett,” Size said. “The horse had freshened up well for a drop back to 1,600m, it was really a Class Two and a half, given the ratings bracket, not a Class Two, and then when I saw there was no speed in the race I was delighted. I told him to camp on the leader then go for home, and that’s what he did. Nobody knew he was in the race until he won.”
Amazing Kids will take his leap into stakes company next time in the Group Two Sprint Cup on April 3 after taking the Class Two sprint feature over an unlucky Lucky Bubbles.
“That win probably takes him to a rating where there won’t be many options, so he can have a crack at a big race,” Size said.
“The Sprint Cup, then the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and that will probably do him for the season. That will be seven runs, he won’t have been overtaxed and can have a decent break before next season.”
Lucky Bubbles was heavily backed to start a short-priced favourite before finishing second but jockey Prebble said the length and a half between them was an unfair guide, after his mount had been strung up behind two long-priced leaders.
“If I get out when I want to, my bloke either wins or runs a very close second – the other horse had all the momentum and went past me while I was still blocked,” he said.
Size managed to post another minor milestone, with Silvestre de Sousa getting his first win for the trainer at his first ride for the yard, while Moreira said it was Size’s education of Diego Kosta that led to his win.
“He just does everything right. I got outside the lead, put my hands down and he took a breath and kicked when I needed him,” the jockey said. “I’m a bit surprised it has taken him this long to win his second race but he feels like he has more improvement to come yet.”
Size said Diego Kosta had not always had straightforward races over 1,200m but he was confident he would have the strength in this event to hold out fellow three-year-old and topweight New Asia Sunrise with 18 pounds between them.
“There looked to be not much pressure sitting outside the leader and he was able to get first run on the other horse with the weights in his favour,” he said.
The four-timer leaves Size 10 clear of Danny Shum Chap-shing just after the halfway mark of the season. And the scary news for his rivals is that he has only just hit his stride for the season and has more wins to come with lightly raced three-year-olds like Diego Kosta and Momentum Lucky the backbone of his team.