John Size’s treble looked pale numerically against Joao Moreira’s haul but, while the jockey snatched up wins on all kinds of beasts high and low, the champion trainer was only looking upwards, with a new Hong Kong Derby hopeful, a three-year-old star for next season and a sprinter ready to take on the very best.
The attention was all on Moreira when Prawn Baba became his eighth victory but the comprehensive success will also catapult the gelding into a Derby run which had looked unlikely beforehand.
“I think his owner is going to want to run in the Derby after that and he’s won by a margin that should ensure he has the rating for it,” Size said.
On an afternoon when so much Moreira did was solid gold, his ride on Prawn Baba encapsulated his talent for judging the speed in a race rather than the geography of the track. He was well off the pace early when most expected he would be up the front, then he sustained a long sweeping move three wide from a long way out.
“I was riding for someone who doesn’t mind me changing the plan, if I am confident I am doing the right thing, and when they went so fast early, I didn’t have enough horse to compete anyway,” Moreira said.
“When the pace slowed, I just kept my horse running on the same rhythm he was already in and, turning for home, even if it didn’t look like it, I knew he would win.
“He gets to his top speed this horse and can run like that forever. They went so fast early, they had to get tired. If I was the owner, I’d be asking John to run him in the Derby too. He can stay, he just might not be as sharp as some others.”
At the other end of the distance scale, Mr Stunning gave Moreira his softest win, strolling in with a Class One over 1,000m that will see him with nowhere to hide now and a match-up with the Group One sprinters lies ahead.
“I don’t choose his races any more,” said Size. “As of now, the programme will choose his races, because he’ll have no options. It looked easy today down the straight – back around a turn things can be different.
“But he’s been fortunate these two straight races happened at the right time and he got in well and took advantage of it. He’ll go back to 1,200m now against the good ones but we do have his liking for the straight up our sleeve in the future.”
Moreira ties the record with his sixth winner of the day and has three more rides remaining, guiding Beat The Clock to another victory. pic.twitter.com/z5c883khnK— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 5, 2017
And Size is predicting big things for Beat The Clock, too, after his third win from seven starts: “A three-year-old doing what he’s doing, he has to have a nice future.”