MASTER trainer John Size can provide the banker bet of the meeting at Happy Valley today, when he saddles fast-improving SEIZING THE MOMENT in the Cheung Chau Handicap (1.45pm) over six furlongs.
Size has been in incredible form since the beginning of December, saddling 14 winners at the last 10 race-meetings and winning with five of his last 32 runners.
The 11-time Champion Trainer struggled for winners early in the season but now finds himself snapping at the heels of former assistant Frankie Lor at the top of the trainers’ championship table, and he is likely to be at the head of the pack by the end of the week.
Size sends a raiding party of six to the inner-city track, and it would be a brave man who bets about him leaving the track empty-handed.
His most interesting contender is Seizing The Moment, a two-time winner in New Zealand, who had a leg issue shortly after arriving in Hong Kong, and it’s taken Size some time to get the five-year-old to peak condition.
There was lots to like about his latest performance last month when stepping up to six furlongs for the first time, as he showed a willing attitude in the closing stages to finish fourth to useful sprinter Igniting.
Although Joao Moreira will have to put up overweight, you can guarantee this five-year-old is much better than his present handicap mark, and he will take a lot of beating.
It’s hard to oppose the well-handicapped BEAUTY JOY, who takes his chance in the feature race of the day, the Lantau Island Handicap (1.15pm) over the extend mile.
This striking Australian chestnut gelding won with his head in his chest on his seasonal run over seven furlongs at Sha Tin in December.
On New Year’s Day, he tried to give leading Hong Kong Classic Mile contender Packing Victory six pounds in the handicap, and was beaten only two lengths, again over seven furlongs at Sha Tin.
That form looks very strong with the likes of smart performers Fantastic Treasure and Blaze Warrior behind.
As a son of top-class sire Sebring and having won in Listed company over nine furlongs in Australia, the Tony Cruz-trained galloper is always going to improve further when stepping up in distance.
With winning rider Zac Purton back in the saddle again after missing his last run through injury, and an inside draw mapping him for the perfect journey throughout the race, he can show his class in the latter stages of the contest.
Anyone looking for horses to include in exotic wagers (forecasts or quinellas) should pay particular attention to the likes of course-specialist Telecom Fighters, handicapped to reverse November form with rival Sunny Star, unpredictable but clearly talented CP Brave, and four-time course and distance winner Solar Wai Wai
Beauty Joy 1.15pm Happy Valley
Seizing The Moment 1.45pm Happy Valley