He’s no stranger to backing horses up and John Size hasn’t ruled out running Enrichment in next week’s Classic Cup (1,800m), although he did admit he’d need time to mull it over.
“I don’t like to make decisions on the racetrack,” Size said after Enrichment broke through for his first Hong Kong win in Sunday’s Class Two Daffodil Handicap (2,000m) at Sha Tin.
The gelding is entered for the second leg of the four-year-old series in a week’s time but it would mean running the horse three times in 16 days after it finished second to Good Standing on February 2.
Enrichment enhances his chances of making the BMW Hong Kong Derby field by relishing the step up to 2000m under Joao Moreira in a fast-run R3 at Sha Tin. Douglas Whyte finishes fourth on Dances With Dragon and sits out the next two races #HKracing pic.twitter.com/hlkZr2802P— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 10, 2019
“I’ll have a think about it, we’ll see how he does,” Size said. “I don’t have much time to make up my mind.
“Actually he doesn’t need it but of course it’s an option so I’ll have a look at the order of entry and everything.”
The BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) on March 17 is Enrichment’s grand final and Sunday’s impressive win ensures he has the rating to gain a start.
“He goes to 92 and 93, so he’s there,” Size said. “Probably what we would have expected before the race, that is how it has turned out.”
After two fourths and a second over 1,600m, Size was confident Enrichment would enjoy the step-up to 2,000m after suggesting in the build-up to Sunday’s race that he is a “little bit one-paced”.
Fellow Derby entrants Packing Warrior and Charity Go set a solid speed, allowing Joao Moreira to travel comfortably behind the leaders aboard Enrichment before wearing them down in the straight to win by one-and-a-half lengths from Savvy Six.
“The tempo looked like it was genuine, he enjoyed that and the fact that the speed was on probably helped him win,” Size said of Enrichment’s victory, which marked the 600th Hong Kong win for prominent horse importer Price Bloodstock.
Charity Go fared the best of the other Derby hopefuls in third, while Heavenly Thought and Packing Warrior filled the last two placings and Tigre Du Terre was scratched at the barriers.
Enrichment now boasts the benefit of having run over the Derby distance at Sha Tin and Size is pleased with how his horse is progressing mentally as well as physically.
Close but not quite close enough for Douglas Whyte in R7: Storm Signal rallies willingly on the inner only to be pegged back by the well-backed Lean Perfection and My Darling. Winning rider @AlexisBadel moves to nine for the season with a week of his contract left. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/k2KATmOafb— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 10, 2019
“He was a little bit nervous behind the machine last week, he seemed a bit better today even though he was in front of the stand,” Size said, referencing the 2,000m start which is in the home straight just metres from the boisterous crowd. “That’s an experience a lot of horses don’t have before the race.”
It didn’t all go Size’s way on Sunday, however, with short favourites Raging Blitzkrieg and Special Stars failing to get the job done later in the afternoon.
Raging Blitzkrieg ($2.6) was all over the shop, travelling awkwardly in the run before hitting the front in the straight, laying in and falling away for fifth behind Lean Perfection.
Sent out a red-hot $1.7 favourite, Special Stars sat handy enough in the run but didn’t have enough in the tank after finding clear air 300m from home, finishing three-and-a-quarter lengths behind winner I Am Power in eighth.