Italian jockey Umberto Rispoli credits John Size with helping turn his season around so he would love nothing more than to ride the winner that brings up the all-time record for most wins in a season for a trainer.
Rispoli’s season was turning into a horror show, after a terrible fall early on he struggled for opportunities before a pick-up ride for Size on Right Call delivered a win and halted a 78-race run of outs that lasted nearly five months.
It was also the start of a fruitful partnership between the pair, Rispoli riding four winners from just 11 rides for the Size, the leading stable providing the foundation of what can now be considered a decent campaign of 14 wins.
With Size poised to pass Tony Cruz’s all-time record for wins in a season – he has tied the current mark of 91 – Rispoli takes three top rides for the master trainer on Sunday.
Chad Schofield gets first chance to push Size into record territory on Eastern Express in the Group Three Premier Plate before Rispoli takes the reins on three-year-olds Ivictory (race four) and Jolly Bountiful (race six), before riding Sun Jewellery in the Group Three Premier Cup.
“Of course that would be pretty special to be on the winner that gives him the record and I’m lucky to have been given some nice chances to do it,” Rispoli said. “I’ve said many times how great it is to ride for a trainer like this, he is easy to ride for and puts a lot of trust in his jockeys.”
Unbeaten sprinter Ivictory is chasing three straight for Rispoli in the Class Three Amethyst Handicap (1,200m) and has come up with another great draw.
“That draw will help because he has jumped 10 points and is in Class Three for the first time,” Rispoli said. “I don’t expect it to be easy, he showed something in Class Four – there are a few rivals there that will be hard to beat, but my horse is in great shape. He improved a lot from that first start to second start, he showed good speed at 1,200m last start.”
Jolly Bountiful gave favourite backers some nervous moments but still broke through for a maiden win at his second start over 1,200m three weeks ago.
The gelding’s strong finishing burst on that occasion indicates that a step up to 1,400m on Sunday should be ideal in the Class Four Sapphire Handicap.
“I think the distance is right at this stage and he has drawn well too with barrier four, so we should get a nice run,” Rispoli said.
Sun Jewellery promised much last season with wins in the Hong Kong Classic Mile, Hong Kong Classic Cup and Premier Cup, but has failed to live up to his promise at five.
Rispoli was encouraged by a last start fifth in the Group Three Sha Tin Vase and seemed hopeful the gelding could go back-to-back, even carrying seven pounds more this year.
“I really thought that at the 300m I might win the race,” Rispoli said. “I was racing in line with the horses that were challenging and we were only beaten a length.”