Trainer John Size’s dominance of the feature sprints appears set to continue this term with the Australian handler holding the ace hand in Monday’s (1 October) G3 National Day Cup Handicap (1000m), saddling up G1 winner Ivictory and rising star Hot King Prawn.
Size won seven of Hong Kong’s nine Group-level sprints last season, preparing the trifecta on three occasions and the quinella in another two. In Ivictory and Hot King Prawn, though, he has a pair that is likely to be at the forefront of the sprint division in the season ahead. Both have only tasted defeat once and both still seem to be on an upward spiral.
Ivictory (133lb) emerged from a big Class 2 victory at Happy Valley – in track record time, no less – to take the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at his last start in April. Last season’s Champion Sprinter returns to the Sha Tin straight for the first time since his debut in May, 2017, when he scored from a seemingly impossible position at the 200m – albeit against Class 4 company.
“I don’t think he’s a 1000m horse, but he’s a Group 1 winner, so in a handicap they always have to be considered as capable of winning it,” Size said at Sha Tin on Friday morning (28 September). “Once they get to that point, the handicapper doesn’t really have much control over them. They have to drop back to races like this and they could be a different class, so a couple of points doesn’t make much of a difference.
“This race comes up early in the season, his fitness will improve with racing and even though he’s the best horse in the race, the handicap is still problematic. But he’s earned that weight and he’s not without a hope.”
Hot King Prawn (117lb) will be looking to emulate Ivictory by scoring at his first attempt in stakes company. The popular grey has already attracted a large international following thanks to his quirky name, not to mention his ample talent, but Size remains cautious with the four-year-old as he climbs the ratings ladder.