Star sprinter Beat The Clock has staved off an international raid to take home the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) for Hong Kong at Sha Tin on Sunday.
While Australian runner Santa Ana Lane stole the headlines in the lead up to the race, the John Size-trained five-year-old stole the show on race day.
The master handler produced a perfect training performance for the consistent galloper who is yet to miss a placing in his 21-start career.
Size was full of praise for the sprinter, who has enjoyed a career-best season.
“He’s a joy to take to the races that is for sure because he is so consistent and he’s such a willing participant,” he said.
Beat The Clock beat home the Richard Gibson-trained Rattan, who led the field into the straight after jockey Chad Schofield elected to go forward due to a lack of pace in the race.
“Congratulations to the winner, our horse kicked great and did us proud, we were beaten by a better horse,” Gibson said.
The lack of speed left $1.8 favourite Santa Ana Lane with too big a task after settling second last in the running before producing the fastest last 400m of the race to finish fourth behind Little Giant.
“I don’t think we saw the best of him but take nothing away from the winner, he was too good today,” jockey Hugh Bowman said.
Beat The Clock’s jockey Joao Moreira said he was thrilled to settle fourth in running after jumping well from the gates.
“I was extremely happy, I would say the race went perfectly for him,” he said.
“Rattan wasn’t giving up, he was dashing home and he was making it very hard.
“Fortunately we had a very good horse who always tries his best and once again he has done it and got there in time. It is a pleasure for me to ride him.”
The win makes Beat The Clock a two-time Group One winner after also winning the Centenary Sprint Prize (1,200m) in January.
The win will round out the son of Hinchinbrook’s season with Size confirming there will be no overseas raids.
“That will be enough for him, he’s done a good job and I don’t think he will have another run in him anyway. That warm weather will come now and I think he’s better off not working,” he said.
Generally considered a run-on horse, Size said Beat The Clock was a versatile runner.
“He has come strong now at five years of age, this should be his best season and he has done that, he’s delivered with his two Group Ones,” he said.
“Early in his career he has done it from both [positions], he definitely won from there twice that I can remember, one was a Group Two and the other he had 133 pounds so he is quite versatile, it is just a matter of the race circumstances on the day working out for him.”