Racing

Size saddles his 1,000th winner

Reigning champion trainer achieves a new milestone in Hong Kong It's a gratifying feeling, to reach 1,000 wins in 16 years. It's OK for me, I'm satisfied with that, it's a very good feeling. - Trainer John Size

It was a night of milestones and records at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, as champion trainer John Size and champion jockey Joao Moreira took centre stage in a bumper night at the iconic city racetrack.

Size, reigning champion trainer and the current leader in this season's trainers' championship, brought up a rare milestone as he became just the third handler to score 1,000 Hong Kong wins.

He notched a double with GAME OF FUN in Race 3 and D B PIN in Race 5. Both were ridden by Zac Purton, who rode a double for his compatriot for just the second time, the first since May 2011.

"Any sort of milestone or achievement is important in any career," said Size, after Game Of Fun saw the Australian horseman join John Moore (1,543 Hong Kong wins) and Tony Cruz (1,104) as the only three members of the millennium club.

"It's a gratifying feeling, to reach 1,000 wins in 16 years. It's OK for me, I'm satisfied with that, it's a very good feeling."

Purton added, with a smile: "It's great for John. Not only have I helped him get to his first 1,000 wins, now I've helped him get started on his second 1,000 too."

Size was typically nonchalant during celebrations and presentations to mark the milestone, instead choosing to focus on the future.

"I don't think that way, about big milestones, I just try to do my job daily and I take whatever results come with that," he said.

"If you set too many goals, you are bound to be disappointed, so I am looking towards what will come tomorrow morning."

However, talk quickly turned to the natural goal of a ninth trainers' title, for which he sits in pole position with 48 of the 88 meetings completed.

It’s a gratifying feeling, to reach 1,000 wins in 16 years. It’s OK for me, I’m satisfied with that, it’s a very good feeling. Trainer John Size

GOOD RUN

Size's double took him to 49 wins for the term, nine clear of nearest chaser Moore and 14 ahead of third-placed Caspar Fownes.

"I'm happy with how we are getting on so far," the trainer said.

"I hope our good run continues over the next couple of months or so. You can never be too confident, though, as you don't know what's coming around the corner.

"You don't know what other trainers are about to produce and one day your horses can be fine, the next they can be out of action. It is really difficult to predict."

Game Of Fun was a typical Size project, taking time to hit his straps as the handler tried to figure out how to get the best out of the Snitzel gelding.

However, he had improved slowly with racing and took all of his lessons to Wednesday night's races as he fought on gamely to hold off Cruz's Contribution.

"He just struggled to get that win," he said.

"He's an honest little horse but just couldn't break through until tonight. With the small improvement that will come from that, he can win again sometime in the next year but it might be few and far between."

Size had tried Game Of Fun at both Sha Tin and Happy Valley, as well as on both turf and dirt, but he admits that he thinks the four-year-old might be one-dimensional.

"I don't think he's very versatile," he said.

"I think 1,200m at Happy Valley suits him, so we'll persevere here."

Size then made it 1,001 victories with D B Pin, who was sent off a 1.5 favourite upon his return to the Happy Valley 1,000m.

He never really looked in doubt as he held off Danny Shum's Charity Joy for a comfortable one-and-three-quarter-length success. - HKJC