John Size says the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup “adds a bit of interest to the calendar” but admits its standing as the sole 1,400m Group One of the season means it’s hard to know what to expect at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Size-trained sprinters Beat The Clock and Hot King Prawn step up to seven furlongs to tackle Beauty Generation, a two-time winner of the race who is stepping back from a mile.
“It certainly adds a bit of interest to the calendar, it’s good to have it there [but] we’ve only got one race throughout the season for the 1,400m so no one’s got a record at it,” Size said.
Four-time Group One winner Beat The Clock is Size’s leading hope but he’s never won at the top level over 1,400m, having finished runner-up to Beauty Generation in the last two edition’s of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
“We go there just hoping we can beat the other sprinters and Beauty Generation, but there’s no statistics to support an argument for anybody,” Size said.
“He hasn’t won at 1,400m but he met Beauty Generation when he was flying both times. You don’t run at it often enough to find out if there is a weakness there or not, he’s only had two runs in Group Ones at 1,400m a year apart and now this one’s a year apart also so you don’t really get a guide.”
Beat The Clock certainly brings the superior form into the race, having won consecutive Group Ones at 1,200m this season, and he remains at the top of his game while Beauty Generation is without a win from his past four starts.
Hot King Prawn enters the race after back-to-back placings at the top level but has never stepped out at the trip, with Size eager to see what his lightly raced five-year-old brings to the table.
“We think [he is going to be stretched by the distance], but we mightn’t be right. He might relish it, we’ve got no idea,” Size said.
“The horse is very kind as far as his travelling manners in a race, he doesn’t go fiercely even though he started his career as a 1,000m horse.
“He’s not the sort of horse that runs hard so he will give himself an opportunity to run the trip. It’s not as though he goes a bit too fiercely and then you have to relax him, he does that himself.
“If it’s not run quick enough or something like that he might have a chance of getting some prize money, but he’s a 1,000m winner and normally that doesn’t help them when you get to 1,400m.”
While there are only seven runners in the field, the tactical battle is poised to be an intriguing one.
Beauty Generation won the race from the front last season and Thanks Forever led over 1,200m at his last start, however John Moore has said he would prefer to see Thanks Forever take a sit.
Hot King Prawn has done some of his best work from the front of the field but Karis Teetan was reluctant to take up the running in the Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) last time out, with Size keeping his options open.
“I’ll just get my horses comfortable, wherever they are, so if Hot King Prawn has to lead, he can lead,” he said.