John Size’s Diamond in the rough on tough day at the office
The championship leader won an early race, but had to endure a string of seconds before well-backed So Fast was withdrawn at the start
John Moore might have been calling John Size the champion trainer in waiting but it didn’t feel like that to Size, as he landed a winner but the day could have read so much better. Diamond Friends was the first of a Joao Moreira treble on the day when he landed the Class Four dirt mile in race two, but Size then had to watch three of his next five runners finish second before So Fast didn’t even get that far in the ninth when he was scratched at the starting gates. “At least we had Diamond Friends,” said Size, who maintained his 14-win lead on the table. “He’s fairly limited, needs a bit to go right but he likes the dirt and tries his best and gate one was a big help to him. He’s racing well, so maybe he could find another one before the end of the season.”
Howard Cheng the gun for hire for embattled trainer Andreas Schutz
Howard Cheng Yue-tin probably isn’t the jockey that trainer Andreas Schutz turns to that often but the local rider landed a vital winner for the yard on cellar dweller Plenty Of Speed. Cheng used his inside draw well to hold a prominent place and Plenty Of Speed defied a number of attempts to run him down that appeared likely to succeed at different stages in the final 300m. It was Cheng’s eighth winner from 113 rides ever for Schutz, and his second for this season, making him the winningest rider for the embattled German. Schutz now has eight of the 15 wins he needs by season’s end to avoid missing the performance criteria for a third time and to avoid the show cause hearing before the Licensing Committee which will ensue.
Local rider Vincent Ho jumps on Joao Moreira cast-off – and edges Magic Man out in photo finish
However this season finishes up for Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, his victory on Blaze Stamina gave him a rare achievement – getting a ride on a last-start winner off Joao Moreira, and winning on it again. Ho had ridden the three-year-old to a third at Happy Valley in March and was keen to stay on but trainer Tony Cruz preferred Moreira last time when Blaze Stamina won a trophy race at the Valley. But, as impressed as Moreira was by the sprinter’s tough win, he jumped onto Diego Kosta yesterday, opening the door for Ho, who responded by nosing out the Brazilian. “The good thing about this horse is he has plenty of speed to find a nice position, and very good fighting qualities – he doesn’t want to let another horse past,” Ho said.