1st January 2018

Another Price Bloodstock rising star kept his unbeaten record intact on New Year’s Day at Sha Tin when John Size-trained Conte gave his backers few worries to make his record three wins from three starts.

Champion jockey Joao Moreira can barely contain his enthusiasm for Conte, who is so push button for his jockey, and the Brazilian bounced him from the gates to park him outside the leader and then let his light handicap and talent do the rest.

The buzz around Sha Tin was that Size might get busy with Conte and run him more often to get his handicap rating up and try to get him into the Classic Mile or the Classic Cup or Derby, but the trainer scoffed at that suggestion.

“He’s progressive, he is doing a good job keeping up with the handicapper but his future career is the most important thing – people know it isn’t my style to drive the horse crazy just to get his rating up to run in those races,” Size said after the two-length victory. “When you look around, there seem to be plenty of four-year-olds at the moment with better ratings than him and they look pretty good too, so I’m in no hurry to challenge them. Like all my horses, Conte will be taken step by step.”

After winning his debut at 1,200m, Conte has stepped up to 1,400m and won twice in convincing fashion and shapes like he will handle 1,600m as soon as Size wants to try him over that distance but, once again, Size is wary of being in too much of a rush with the lightly-raced gelding.

“At the moment, he’s running well at 1,400m, I’m sure he’ll run 1,600m one day but there’s no hurry,” Size said.

The win pushed Conte’s earnings within sight of $2 million.