Hong Kong’s leading trainers John Size and John Moore, who have typically strong hands in Sunday’s two feature races, the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize and G1 Champions Mile, had no reason to be displeased with today’s barrier draw which saw none of the most fancied runners disadvantaged.
Size saddles up the probable top pick Mr Stunning, along with three others, in the HK$14 million G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) and has Contentment in the HK$16 million G1 Champions Mile. Moore has Hong Kong’s latest ‘pin up’ horse Rapper Dragon and Helene Paragon in the Mile plus Dashing Fellow and Not Listenin’tome in the Sprint.
“I think the draw is not that important here,” Size said, “it’s more about the speed they show and the horses that are around them. It will be a good contest and hopefully everything gets its opportunity.”
Mr Stunning, who chases an eighth win from 11 starts, came up with barrier four while stablemates Thewizardofoz and Amazing Kids also fared well in, respectively, gates one and six while Sun Jewellery - likely to be the least fancied of the Size quartet - drew 11 of 12.
“Mr Stunning faces a similar test to last time out. He had a very lucky race for him then, from a similar draw, and he was able to capitalise on that. That’s probably the best run of his career and whether he can repeat that is up to him,” Size said.
Moore said the draw was of little consequence given the field size in the Champions Mile and was unperturbed about his two Chairman’s Sprint Prize runners drawing out.
“The draw shouldn’t matter much in the Mile, they’ll probably settle in pairs. I could picture Rapper Dragon, from five, getting the gun run in fourth one out and hopefully Helene Paragon (barrier four) will be tracking him. And don’t be surprised if Helene Paragon runs a better race as his work this morning was outstanding and he looks like he’s switched on again,” Moore said.
Not Listenin’tome drew seven in the Sprint while Dashing Fellow came up widest in 12.
“Seven’s a good gate for Not Listenin’tome as he’s not that comfortable crowded between horses. You can never be sure when they’ve had the trip away but his recent trial was good. As for Dashing Fellow, well from gate 12 I think he’ll just have to get out and get going,” Moore said.
Peniaphobia, the likely leader in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, drew favourably in five while another of the leading fancies Lucky Bubbles begins from three. “I’m Ok with that,” said his trainer Francis Lui, “provided the speed horses drawn out do show their speed and it doesn’t get crowded inside.”
Sunday’s two international visitors Convey and Stormy Antarctic drew outside with gate six for the former and seven for the latter in the Champions Mile.