1st January 2019

It was a new year at Sha Tin on Tuesday but there was nothing new about Price Bloodstock producing winners and 2019 opened with a treble in tandem with champion trainer John Size courtesy of Picken, Full Of Beauty and the exciting Conte.

Price Bloodstock’s season is rolling along very nicely, with 19 Hong Kong wins now from multiple horses which look to have more wins ahead of them.

Conte is a horse who has always excited jockey Joao Moreira since his early days in Class 4 more than a year ago, and he made his first foray in Group racing a winning one as he took his record to 7 wins from 9 starts in the Group 3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup over 1400m.

“I love everything about this horse; his character, his personality, his attitude, his movement; the way he responds when you ask, he just does it for you. What I really love is when you put him under pressure he may not look like he’s dashing but I can tell you, he’s going fast. Probably because he’s big and he’s covering lot of ground, it doesn’t look as if he’s quickening like he is,” Moreira enthused.

Often in a role up on the lead in his races, Conte was ridden more conservatively from an awkward barrier but it made no difference as he accelerated around the field entering the straight to put his rivals to the sword quickly.

The win will likely push Conte’s rating to something around the 115 mark now, narrowing Size’s options sharply and he now has to consider whether he throw Conte in the deep end in the Group One Stewards’ Cup later in January or waits for the Chinese New Year Cup in early February under handicap conditions, if his rating still allows that path.

“I’ll certainly have to consider a race like the Stewards’ Cup now but it’s another big step,” Size explained. “I’ll weigh it up but he’s run out of other options very fast – if he doesn’t go there he stays home in the box.”

Those types of decisions are still a long way away for the likes of Class 4 winners Full Of Beauty and Picken, but both still indicated more wins to come with their performances.

Full Of Beauty’s win at his racecourse debut was a notable event, the first time that Price Bloodstock has combined with the very successful Kwok family which races all the “Beauty” horses, including champion miler Beauty Generation.

What kind of level Full Of Beauty ultimately reaches is all ahead of the son of Darci Brahma but it’s never easy to win at the first appearance and he did a good job going clear at the 200m then just holding out the fast-finishing runner-up, another Price Bloodstock up and comer in Lakeshore Eagle.

“He probably got in front a bit early and didn’t know what he was there for,” Moreira said of Full Of Beauty. “He started looking around, waiting for the others to come and challenge.”

and the second horse really came flashing home so gave him no guide. He went by like a bullet.”

Picken took his record to two wins on end and now 2 from 6 career starts and this time he did it the hard way, sitting wide on the track throughout his race but still bravely fighting back to score when he looked beaten.

“He’s still in the learning mode but he wants to do it and that’s the kind of attitude that will take him a long way,” said Size. “He had all the excuses to throw the towel in today but he didn’t. He’s doing a good job.”