Champion trainer John Size had more on his mind than edging closer to his former protégé Frankie Lor Fu-chuen at the top of the trainers’ table when a winning double was headlined by impressive gelding Conte.
The four-year-old was having only his second race start in the Class Three to end the programme and kept his perfect record intact, but there is something about the hulking son of Starcraft that everyone seems to like.
“I was looking for a way right from the start to stay out from anywhere that he might have been held up or got interference or had to break his stride at all,” said jockey Joao Moreira, who jumped from gate two and stayed in his lane until Captain Boss in barrier one was able to come up underneath him and make sure he couldn’t be pushed to the fence.
“From day one, I thought there was something special about Conte and he hasn’t let us down so far. He does everything right.”
The gelding won from the outside barrier at his racecourse debut and Size said the inside gate for Conte was of some concern for the long odds-on favourite.
“I certainly didn’t want him on the rail but Joao kept him off it and the horse did everything he was supposed to,” he said. “He’s hard not to like. He’s very uncomplicated, does what you ask.”
Size led in a double and Lor a single, so Lor’s lead on the trainers’ ladder is now back to just six with plenty of season still ahead.
Premiere (Karis Teetan) has been one of the stable stars with three wins from three starts this campaign but it almost went wrong at the jump.
“He came out a bit sluggish and if the same thing happened at Happy Valley, you might panic a bit but I preferred to take a seat and let him work his way to be handy rather than burning too much petrol,” Teetan said.
Premiere only scraped in over his stablemate House Of Fun, who looked unlucky, but Size wasn’t ready to say that Premiere’s run is over.
“He will be over a 100 rating now and you can’t ask a lot more than that,” he said. “But he is stronger this time in and he is a 1,000m horse, so he’ll continue to be hard to beat over that distance – not many horses are ideally suited in 1,000m races.”