24th Jan 2021

It was a red letter day for Price Bloodstock at Sha Tin on Sunday – or perhaps a pink letter day to match the colours of Hot King Prawn as he finally registered a Group One win in the Centenary Sprint Cup.

The day wound up with a second Price Bloodstock winner, unbeaten rising star Sight Success keeping his perfect record intact in the final race, but the maiden Group One for one of Hong Kong’s most consistent and popular horses in recent years was clearly the headline moment.

The John Size-trained grey had been desperately close a few times at the highest level without breaking through but his win was also the ultimate comeback from an illness that almost finished his career.

“There’s been some frustration previously that he hasn’t won a Group One but, in fairness, he has run into some very smart horses in the past two or three years,” Size said before referencing the natty grey’s colic attack in 2019.

“When the vet had to operate on him for the colic, it wasn’t a case of whether he would win a Group One but a case of ‘will he come back at all?’. It was 10 months before he ran again and he ran well the first day, he ran well the second day and he’s been running well ever since. He’s always been a very easy horse to train, he’s never been any trouble at all and when he goes to the races he always gives his best.”

That had been good enough, often, and Hot King Prawn’s record of 22 starts for 11 wins and 7 placings and more than $27 million in stake money – even before Sunday – was testimony to how good he had been.

The gap in his resume was clear, however, and champion rider Joao Moreira was thrilled to have filled the vacancy and added another win and almost $7 million more in prize money earnings.

“He has performed well so many times but he hasn’t got there at the highest level – today was the day and I’m sure the connections would be very happy,” the Brazilian said. “Good horses make jockeys’ lives much easier and there is no doubt this bloke made my life easier today. He had the talent to use the good draw and then gave me everything he had, as he always does. And the best part of it is that I believe there is more to come from him now that he has broken through at the Group One level. He is so straightforward, a very sound kind of horse and as a jockey I couldn’t ask for a better horse.”

And it was Size and Moreira behind Sight Success too, as the four-year-old made it three from three with his most impressive victory yet and looking every inch “the next big thing” on the horizon for Hong Kong sprinting ranks.

“It shows how he has come on from his last run when he didn’t do everything right in the lead,” Size said. “Today, he really knew his job, controlled the race from the front and just owned it from the start.”