Champion trainer John Size is convinced his talented sprinter Full Of Beauty is ready for Group-level racing ahead of his first foray into such company on Sunday.
The four-year-old has taken all before him in his seven-start career, racking up five wins and two second placings as he raced through the grades this season.
Renowned for his cautious approach, Size rarely pushes his horses beyond what they are capable of, but he believes Full Of Beauty has what it takes to step-up in the Group Three Sha Tin Vase (1,200m).
After starting his career in January with a baseline rating of 52, the son of Darci Brahma has rocketed to 103 in under four months.
“He does what he has to do and he has been quite straightforward, he is sound and healthy – he is obviously a willing racehorse,” Size said.
Size credits Full Of Beauty’s late start to racing as the key ingredient to his extended run this season.
“He started racing when he was four so he has had a reasonably long preparation but he is turning five in August so he is OK,” he said.
Full of Beauty makes it five out of five with another smooth success for John Size and Joao Moreira in R7 at Sha Tin and records the fastest winning time of the four 1200m races on the card. The BMW Hong Kong Derby is up next. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/l3scI41vTG— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) March 17, 2019
“As long as he is healthy and well, he just keeps going to the races because he started a little bit late, which is not a bad thing. As we have seen in Hong Kong, they can start racing at four and be successful.”
As a result of his step-up in grade, Full Of Beauty will carry just 116 pounds under Joao Moreira, who has ridden him for four of his five wins.
It will be the first time in his career he will carry less than 121 pounds, which he lumped in just his third start in his first appearance in Class Three.
“If he has got more improvement in him, which a horse with his win rate should have, he is going to be competitive,” Size said.
“He has never really raced in Group company either so he has to deal with that, you have to keep improving.
“I think he is fine and I am sure he will run well. The handicap is going to help him, it is just a matter of the fact that in a handicapped race, every horse has got a chance according to the handicapper.”
While Full Of Beauty gets in near the bottom of the weights, Richard Gibson’s Wishful Thinker will carry 129 pounds as he returns from his disappointing run in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) in Dubai.
The five-year-old has not run since his eight-length beating at the hands of Blue Point in March, with Gibson electing not to run the horse in last month’s Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize, saying he had not returned in the best order from the run.
Fully recovered now, Gibson is confident his rising star has one more run in him this term.
“I thought he did a nice trial the other day and he has always shown his ability, he has had a fantastic season for us so let’s see if we can go to the well one more time,” he said.
“Him and Rattan have done the stable proud this season, Wishful Thinker is one of the most improved horses in Hong Kong so we are very lucky to have him here.”