John Size began Sunday’s Sha Tin feature meeting remembering some of his biggest stars following his 1,500th Hong Kong win and ended it hoping Beauty Eternal can become his stable’s next elite galloper.
The early victory of Raging Blizzard saw Size become only the second handler to celebrate 1,500 victories in the city, with the 12-time champion trainer joining John Moore in reaching the remarkable milestone.
“I’m very satisfied with my career in Hong Kong. It’s been very good from the first season when I started here, and it’s given me great satisfaction,” said Size, who won the trainers’ title in his first Hong Kong season in 2001-02.
“No, I didn’t imagine [reaching 1,500 wins]. I thought it was a very tough assignment for me to come here, but right from the beginning, it seems like I was well suited, and I’ve done much better than I could have imagined.”
Size credited Electronic Unicorn – who delivered him a Group One Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) in his maiden campaign – with starting “the procession”.
Size also has three Longines Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) successes on his sparkling CV – Glorious Days’ 2013 Group One Hong Kong Mile triumph and the wins of Mr Stunning (2017) and Beat The Clock (2019) in the Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) – and three victories in the city’s most prestigious race, the Hong Kong Derby (2,000m).
“I’ll leave someone out if I start mentioning names, but Electronic Unicorn started the procession. He was a fantastic horse to come to me in my first season and gave me a great start and a big kick along,” said Size, who finished Sunday afternoon with four successes.
“The three Derby horses, of course – Fay Fay , Luger  and Ping Hai Star  – and Beat The Clock, who won four Group Ones in 12 months. It’s been a great ride, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’m very satisfied, and I’m very grateful that I was able to come here.”
While Beauty Eternal could not quite deliver Size a fourth Derby victory, finishing third as the favourite in March, he will chase HKIR glory next month after winning Sunday’s Group Two BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile.
In a race with plenty of pace thanks to Healthy Happy and then Voyage Bubble ensuring favourite California Spangle did not get things all his own way in front, Beauty Eternal travelled just off the speed under Zac Purton before assuming the ascendancy inside the final 300m and holding off Beauty Joy in a thrilling finish.
“He probably learned a bit more about racing today,” Size said of $2.5 chance Beauty Eternal.
“They went a decent tempo, and he came into the race nicely. He had no horse to run at, and he was there to get shot down. To his credit, he was able to kick and win the race.
“If you get to the front a fair bit too early and the horse starts to wander around or think, you’re in trouble. I think the horse that’s running down the leader has some sort of advantage.
“It’s not very often he’s been in that situation, so I think he’ll learn something from it.”
After turning the tables on California Spangle, Beauty Eternal is now expected to set his sights on his first meeting with Golden Sixty in the Group One Hong Kong Mile on December 10.
Size finished the afternoon on 1,503 wins, with the victories of impressive pair Helios Express and Ensued sandwiched between the successes of Raging Blizzard and Beauty Eternal.
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