Champion trainer John Size has turned to globetrotting jockey Ryan Moore to ride D B Pin in the Group One Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m).
With five horses in the race, Size has had to perform somewhat of a juggling act with jockeys but is happy to have settled on the Englishman for his seven-year-old who appears close to the mark again after an injury-riddled season.
The duo is not short on big race success, having paired up to win the Hong Kong Derby in 2018 on Ping Hai Star along with a Classic Mile and Cup with Sun Jewellery in 2016.
D B Pin won the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup in January last year and has battled various ailments since, but he performed well when sixth in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint last start.
“When he comes over I give him a ride usually, so I had that for him,” Size said. “He rode Beat The Clock in the race last year and he has won a Derby for me.
“Normally his boss [Aidan O’Brien] doesn’t have a horse in the sprint race so I thought he might be available, it turned out he was.”
Size’s speed battery trialled at Sha Tin on Friday morning with the master trainer seeing no reason to sound the alarm bells a week out from the grand final after watching their hit-out.
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Having run second, third and fourth in the Group Two Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) a fortnight ago, Size knows he is close to the mark.
Size’s go-to jockey Joao Moriera will again ride Beat The Clock after they combined for two Group Ones last season.
A STAR is born.— Racing.com (@Racing) March 18, 2018
A Ryan Moore masterclass propels PING HAI STAR to glory in the Hong Kong Derby. pic.twitter.com/bt3YiiOkUP
Even with Moreira’s booking, Size said it did not necessarily mean Hong Kong’s reigning champion sprinter was his top seed heading into the race.
“It indicates that he won two Group Ones on him last season so he probably should give him a chance,” Size laughed.
“He is the unofficial champion, he hasn’t done anything wrong just yet, he kept up his record of running in the first three.”
Jockey Karis Teetan has also been thrown a lifeline from Size in the race.
After being bumped from the plum ride of Aethero by Zac Purton, Teetan will ride Hot King Prawn who started favourite in the race 12 months ago.
The powerful grey made a spectacular return to racing two weeks ago in the Jockey Club Sprint where he chased home Aethero while carrying an extra 10 pounds.
While Grant van Niekerk rode the five-year-old in his first-up effort, the South African had already committed to ride Season’s Bloom after his Group Two Premier Bowl (1,200m) victory.
Top local jockey Vincent Ho Chak-yiu will retain the ride on progressive five-year-old Full Of Beauty while with Alberto Sanna will ride Group One winner Ivictory.