By David Morgan
John Size saddled a quality quartet at this morning’s (Friday, 30 September) Sha Tin barrier trials on the all-weather track, and while Sun Jewellery, Thewizardofoz and Eastern Express each did what was required of them, it was Mr Stunning that caught the eye in batch three.
The four-year-old - Hong Kong’s Champion Griffin last term with three wins from four starts to end the campaign rated 83 - was given a break from late April until he resumed work at the end of July. The Exceed And Excel gelding looked sharp in this, his second trial back, breaking smartly under Karis Teetan, settling outside the pace-setter, the 81-rated Fight Hero, and then maintaining his form to cruise ahead close home. The time for the 1050m was 1m 01.54s.
“He’s only getting fitter, he had a good holiday so John is taking his time with him but he feels like he’s really healthy and well underneath me - he relaxed better today and that’s what he needs to do,” said Teetan.
“He’s a young horse and that little break has really helped him. With these young ones, if you give them a chance they’ll grow into themselves. He’s got the quality and he’s got the ability so now he just needs to go on and prove it.”
In the same heat, Thewizardofoz, five lengths 10th to Chautauqua in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) in May but always highly-regarded, stalked the pace down the rail under Joao Moreira. The Redoute’s Choice five-year-old shifted out at the 200m mark and rolled home for third.
“He’s still quite far back (in his prep) but he’s a lovely horse, he gave a nice feel and he’s on the right track,” Moreira said. “It’s a matter of time before he shows his best and then I think we’re going to have fun with him this season.”
Sun Jewellery was a star four-year-old last term, winning the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile and HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), while Eastern Express was a good third (dead-heated) in the latter contest.
Sun Jewellery was last seen in action winning the HKG3 Premier Cup (Handicap) over 1400m back in June and had not trialled this term until today. In batch one (1200m), the five-year-old, ridden by Keith Yeung, tracked the front-running King Genki along the rail and rolled home under his own steam to finish sixth in 1m 11.38s.
Eastern Express was also having his first trial this season and raced handily on the outer. Niggled out of the backstretch, the Fastnet Rock four-year-old maintained forward momentum into the home straight and kept on steadily under Moreira for fifth in 1m 11. 31s.
Last season��s Champion Griffin Mr Stunning (in red) edged past his opponents to win a Class 3 1200m event at Sha Tin in April.