John Size and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu will be out to break a 1,300-day drought at Sha Tin on Sunday when they combine with the smart Lucky Express.
The pair has not combined for a winner since Bond Elegance saluted on the all-weather track at Sha Tin in January 2017 but will have their best chance since then with the smart four-year-old, who is on track to be one of the best emerging sprinters in Hong Kong.
Lucky Express impressed in his first-up assignment earlier this season, winning under Karis Teetan in Class Two company in what was just his third start in Hong Kong.
With Teetan suspended, Ho got the call up from Size in the Class Two Chak On Handicap (1,200m) and the handler jokes it has been a long time coming.
“Well it’s lucky both of us are patient then, isn’t it,” he laughed.
With just two runs last season, Size took his time with the smart galloper – formerly named Prince Of Sussex in Australia – before bringing him back bigger and better this season.
“He wasn’t ready [last season], those early season three-year-olds when they come to Hong Kong, those Class Twos can be tough so I was happy to give him time,” he said.
“We gave him a couple of runs towards the back end of last season and he looked rusty, like a horse that hadn’t raced in a while. He’s had the short break now and he looks good, turned four now and strengthened up a bit.
“He came from Victoria, which obviously is the other way of going, so he was a bit rusty and wanted to run out a bit in his first starts here.
“He ran really well [first-up], he sustained a good sprint for the length of the straight, I couldn’t have asked for much more really.”
Pressed on the prospect of a tilt at the four-year-old series later in the season, Size did not rule it out but said he would be guided by his performances leading up to it.
“We take it one race at a time, I’m not one to predict the future but I am happy with his last start,” Size said. “It all depends on distances as to whether he goes there or not.”
The 11-time champion trainer will also saddle up Shining Ace in the race who he believes will be better suited by a wet track.
“He’s been a very diligent horse Shining Ace, he should be very proud of himself for what he has achieved,” he said. “He is probably a bit happier when there is some rain around.”
Size also has Chairman Lo, Monkey Jewellery, Ping Hai Bravo and Tempest Express running on the day.