John carves out sizeable slice of history
Trainer gets the Hong Kong Sprint quinella with Mr Stunning and D B Pin
John Size created his own slice of history in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint over 1,200m at Sha Tin on Sunday as he became the first trainer ever to prepare the quinella in a Hong Kong International race feature.
His speedster Mr Stunning confirmed his place as the leading horse in town, at least on ratings, notching his maiden G1 win in determined fashion over stablemate D B Pin.
Sent out as favourite, Mr Stunning was Size's top seed among his record-equalling four runners in the Sprint, and when the five-year-old ambled up under jockey Nash Rawiller entering the straight, the prize looked there for the taking.
However, the biggest threat loomed large down the outside in the form of 20 to 1 salvo D B Pin, rushing home under Olivier Doleuze.
D B Pin ranged up as though he would race on by, but Mr Stunning had enough in hand, maintaining a neck victory at the line to give Size his first Sprint win and his second HKIR victory overall.
Blizzard, stepping out for the first time since the G1 Sprinters Stakes in Japan in October, held third for three-time Sprint-winning trainer Ricky Yiu, with last year's runner-up Lucky Bubbles fourth.
"He's very professional and he's proven himself on top of the Hong Kong sprinters, that's for sure," Rawiller said.
Rawiller positioned Mr Stunning third, chasing pace-setters Peniaphobia and Once In A Moon. He sat two-deep throughout, although he had space to his inside, and the Hong Kong-based Australian rider stated that was a pre-determined plan.
"I had no intention of going near the rail at any stage," Rawiller said. "It can change pretty quickly in a race like that, you only need them to steady a little bit and next minute, you're in the worst spot in the race. Although it looks pretty going down the hill, it can end up being the biggest trap of all time.
"So I sat one-off, I was in a beautiful position with a bit of cover. The horse was in a lovely rhythm and he did the rest."
His trainer was over the moon with his one-two. He said: "From where Nash put him in the race, it was hard to see him being beaten.
"To D B Pin's credit, though, he's probably covered a lot of extra ground from Gate 12. Still, I'd say he ran really well."
For Rawiller, it was a first Group One win since he took the All-Aged Stakes over 1,400m at Randwick in April, 2014 aboard Japanese mare Hana's Goal.
"I was fortunate enough to ride a Macau Derby winner but I haven't had an international Group One win here, so it's great to finally get one. I'm thrilled," he said.