SIGHT LEADER, CLUB LIFE, HOUSE OF FUN & CONTENTMENT
7th May 2017
Price Bloodstock horses produced a Sha Tin tour de force on Sunday, winning four of the ten races on the feature card and, for the second time, taking away one of the international gems of Hong Kong racing, the Champions Mile, with Contentment.
Eight years earlier, trainer John Size and jockey Brett Prebble upset the favourites in the Champions Mile with Sight Winner for Price Bloodstock and the same team was back again with Contentment at long odds as he put the icing on a day that already witnessed wins by Sight Leader, Club Life and House Of Fun.
Contentment was already a Hall Of Famer after winning the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup in 2016, but snared a second Group One and pushed his earnings to almost $35 million with the Champions Mile, bouncing back from one of his rare poor runs in the lead-up.
“He’s a quirky horse. It’s his second Group One and you know he’s always got it there but it’s just hard to get that performance out of him,” Prebble said. “I had been asking John for a while to put blinkers on him because I thought he would concentrate better in them and when he put them on, Contentment was terrible. He just didn’t go at all. So they came off again today and obviously he’d saved his energy last time in that poor run and was able to bounce back. But a lot happened differently today too. When Stormy Antarctic took off around to lead, that gave Contentment a bunny to chase, which he hasn’t had for a while then when Helene Paragon went early too, Contentment had one on his outside to chase as well and enjoyed it.”
Trainer Size, said he was surprised how the public had abandoned Contentment after one poor run as he had been so consistently close in Group Ones all season.
“I don’t think his form has been bad at all,” he said before announcing Contentment was like to take a second shot at the Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo now. “He has been getting beaten a length and a half, two lengths all season in big races and that’s his place in life but, every now and then, the luck bounces his way and he can win – it isn’t his first Group One so we know he’s got it.”
Size also sent out House Of Fun for his first straight track victory, where he was very heavily-backed and his trainer was unsurprised at the result.
“To be honest, he has never cornered perfectly going right-handed, he always hangs out a little bit, and his trials down the straight have always been very good,” explained Size. “So I knew, at some point, I wanted to try him in a straight race and this one came along with the right sort of rating band. The other thing that suits him is the pace they go in the 1,000m races – they are always fast-run and that allows him to relax and some 1,200m races aren’t run like that.”
Richard Gibson took a welcome victory with Club Life, dropping back down to Class Four to dictate the pace for Zac Purton and make it five wins for the honest seven-year-old, while Chris So thinks he has something special in Sight Leader after the youngster kept his unbeaten record intact.
Sight Leader played up in the gates and slightly injured jockey, Joao Moreira, then did everything wrong in the race, running about and failing to concentrate for all but about 50m in the straight.
Stepping up from 1,000m to 1,200m, it was a little like his debut win with only raw talent getting him past the post first and that’s what has So looking to the future.
“He is so green, but he certainly has plenty of talent. He ran all over the place and it wasn’t until late in the race that he really tried, so there is a lot of room for improvement,” So said. “He is doing so much wrong and still winning, so that is a good sign. The first thing Joao said when he got off today is that the horse needs further now. I think he can race once more this season, but next season is what we are most excited about.”