CONTE (以奇用兵)

10th February 2018

Price Bloodstock’s rising star, Conte kept his unbeaten record intact at Sha Tin on Sunday and the sky looks to be the limit for the big four-year-old.

His trainer, John Size, said after the gelding’s first attempt at 1,600m that he was not thinking about a late run for the Hong Kong Derby after Conte was successful in Class Two for the first time.

“Conte can’t do much more than win, so from that point of view I’m pleased,” Size said. “It was a slowly-run race and he was held up at times, but I thought it was a tough effort for him to beat the other horse so it was still a very good effort. He’s won five races now so he might be looking for a break. I’m not saying there is anything wrong but he’s a big boy, he hits the ground hard and the tracks have been firm so I’ll see how he is in the stable in the next week or two but he might be looking for a break.”

Conte had led to win his previous four starts but sat behind this time, although it had not been planned.

“We thought he might lead but other riders wanted to lead so it just made his job a little bit easier,” Size said. “It’s more been by circumstance that he’s ended up on the lead in the past, because of wide barriers we had to use his speed, but I was never concerned about him settling behind runners.”

His biggest potential rival on Sunday was cleverly ridden, hoping to gain a break on Conte but the hulking bay took it all in his stride, lengthened and quickly caught Easy Go Easy Win before they settled down to a fight to the line with Conte coming out best.

“That’s the first time he’s had to come from behind and he adapted well. He handled the mile well and keeps doing everything right,” Size said.