John Size won’t recall New Year’s Day as one of his highlights of the season, coming away empty-handed after appearing likely to rack up multiple winners as the day began.
But the champion trainer has been around the block often enough to brush that off and look ahead and there were some reasons for optimism.
One of the horses who carried his share of expectations on Sunday was beautifully bred debutant Infinity Endeavour, who finished a close fourth to Star Of Patch in the fifth race and both he and the winner are well worth following.
Star Of Patch was pretty obvious, producing an eye-catching finish from back in the field to score in what was a significant advance on his good trial form and even on a very worthwhile debut up the straight course.
That race experience and a step up to 1,200m clearly brought him on and the Paul O’Sullivan-trained three-year-old is going to more than pay his way as he matures.
The one reservation with Infinity Endeavour pre-race was that he took quite a few trials in Sydney to produce his best effort. The three-year-old had been given four trials here too and had again been a steady, rather than spectacular, improver.
He doesn’t appear the kind of precocious horse to just hit the ground running and show off his peak performance right away, so there is every reason to think he’ll be a slow-burning type taking his steps race by race and that is a type of young horse with which Size excels.
The youngster is bred to be very good, by Fastnet Rock from the Group One-winning staying mare Black Mamba, who ran in a Hong Kong Vase, so it won’t surprise if he gets over a bit of distance with that blood later on.
So, all things considered, his debut at 1,200m was sound in finishing a length from the winner, who gave him a decent bump on the way through, even if there was some pain involved in his defeat if you followed the market and backed him.