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HONG KONG: THE JOHN SIZE TRAINED WAIKUKU FIRES WARNING SHOT AHEAD OF THE BMW HONG KONG DERBY

By Hong Kong Jockey Club (David Morgan) | Saturday, March 2, 2019

Waikuku fired a booming warning shot to his fellow BMW Hong Kong Derby aspirants with an impressive victory in the Class 2 Lion City Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin this afternoon (Saturday, 2 March).

“He has gone to another level,” jockey Joao Moreira said, “I can’t wait to ride him in the Derby.”

Trainer John Size’s charge has made big strides since going down by a nose on debut a couple of days before Christmas. Today’s success was his fourth in a row and it was achieved in the style of a horse destined to be a major player in the final leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series in two weeks’ time.

“He has quite surprised me and John Size, and people watching, with the rapid progress he has made,” Moreira said after the Irish import had scored by a length and a half in a time of 1m 46.74s.

“He was very nice and relaxed on the back of the field and the race suited him because they went a bit fast up front. He had to go around them all and he just left them all flat-footed the last 200 metres,” the Brazilian said.

Moreira eased Waikuku (133lb) back from gate 12, settling second last as Easy Go Easy Win (123lb) set the tempo. The Irish import shifted wide for progress on the turn but had the race in the bag long before he passed the leader approaching the 200m pole.

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“That’s what you’re hoping for,” Size said. “In the 1400-metre races he’s been running time and the other day he ran a slow section mid-race, 24 (seconds) or something, so let’s go up in distance and see if he’s got the stamina to finish it off.

“He was always going (to the Derby) but that had to be part of his preparation otherwise he hadn’t had any practice at the tempo.”

Size also saddled Enrichment (124lb) – third behind runner-up Mongolian King (120lb) – and the trainer stated that the Australian import will go on to the Derby when Ryan Moore will take the ride.

“Enrichment, he’s run another dour race. He’s obviously going to appreciate the 2000 metres and he can race handily so that will help him a lot. I think they’ve both got chances of getting prize money.”

Neil Callan was in the plate this time though and the Irishman said: “The pace was nice and even, I had Enrichment out early enough in the straight and he just kept batting away. He just feels a little bit mentally immature; he’s a really nice staying type going forward for next season.

"The Derby? It looks like the winner’s going to be a tough one to beat but this horse has a future.”

Full article

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John Size … taking about Waikuku after his impressive victory in the Class 2 Lion City Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin.

“That’s what you’re hoping for,” Size said. “In the 1400-metre races he’s been running time and the other day he ran a slow section mid-race, 24 (seconds) or something, so let’s go up in distance and see if he’s got the stamina to finish it off.

“He was always going (to the Derby) but that had to be part of his preparation otherwise he hadn’t had any practice at the tempo.”

Photo: Graham Potter
John Size … taking about Waikuku after his impressive victory in the Class 2 Lion City Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin.

“That’s what you’re hoping for,” Size said. “In the 1400-metre races he’s been running time and the other day he ran a slow section mid-race, 24 (seconds) or something, so let’s go up in distance and see if he’s got the stamina to finish it off.

“He was always going (to the Derby) but that had to be part of his preparation otherwise he hadn’t had any practice at the tempo.”

Photo: Graham Potter
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