Beat The Clock didn’t do anything more than live up to the expectations of champion jockey Joao Moreira when he turned over the Hong Kong Sprint winner Mr Stunning in the Group Two Sprint Cup to throw down his own international credentials.
Beat The Clock has been one of the many sprint finds for John Size this season, graduating quickly from a Class Two win in November to racing the very best two months later and his brilliant Group Two win on Sunday was the equivalent of tossing his mortar board in the air to celebrate that graduation.
In a race devoid of speed early, Mr Stunning (Nash Rawiller) looked to have all the advantages as he camped on the leader Peniaphobia, lengths ahead of Beat The Clock who would have to do something awesome from the turn onwards to beat him. And he did, finishing off his final 400m in 21.03 seconds to snatch the result by a neck from the established top-grader.
“And you know, he has always been as good as he showed today,” Moreira said, as he capped off a winning treble for the afternoon.
Beat The Clock earns his first win at pattern-level, besting stablemate Mr Stunning to win the HK$4 million G2 Sprint Cup for Joao Moreira and John Size. The G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize on 29 April is the next destination for both #HKChampionsDay #HKracing pic.twitter.com/0b0m0w6dN3— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 8, 2018
“On a few occasions before, Beat The Clock has done some things that have cost him races. Last time, when Beauty Generation beat him, he threw the race away by shifting ground. He started looking over at the big screen on the infield and he got distracted. He had done it before as a young horse as well. It was great to see him put it all together today. He’s a bloody good horse.”
For Size, the quinella result was almost de rigueur for this campaign in which he has maintained a vice-like grip on the short course features, and he felt no need to split the two horses or make any excuse for Mr Stunning, who started as favourite.
Beat The Clock ran his final 400m in 21.03s, which is the fastest final 400 of any 1200m turf race at Sha Tin since at least April 2008. Previous fastest final 400 - Pakistan Star - 1 July 2016 - 21.22s. Winner's Way ran 21.19s, which is the new second-quickest final 400. pic.twitter.com/7tGyKcpkQn— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) April 8, 2018
“His last five runs, he’s won three times and then he has run second twice – I don’t think he could do much more. He’s been beaten a neck today and they can’t all win the race,” Size pointed out.
“The last time these two horses met, they dead-heated and I think it would be difficult to replicate that. As long as both run well, that’s all you can ask and the circumstances of the race will determine who finishes in front.
“The one thing that could have happened differently to suit Mr Stunning was to have more pace on. There wasn’t that much speed in the race and Mr Stunning didn’t have anything to run at but he still did what he could to win the race. With the slow speed, they were all trying to outsprint Beat The Clock today and that’s futile – he is too fast when it comes down to a dash to the line.”
Zac Purton said he thought Winner’s Way “ran his career-best” finishing third while Size’s third-string, Amazing Kids finished last and well below expectations after the race plan worked against him.
“Amazing Kids looked like the circumstances of the race put him off his game – things started to happen in a way that didn’t suit him and he’ll wait for another day,” Size said.