Nothingilikemore sets early benchmark for Hong Kong Classic Mile

Nothingilikemore demolished a smart field of Class 2 rivals on his return to action at Sha Tin on Sunday leaving trainer John Size satisfied that his much-lauded charge is on track for January’s Hong Kong Classic Mile.

“I couldn’t wish for anything else,” Size said after the four-year-old burst clear of his 13 rivals in the 1400m Parmigiani Excellent Handicap before easing down to a two-length margin. “We’ll find a couple of races and then wait for the third week in January.

“Every horse has an excuse first-up – some of them don't switch on and some of them are over-switched on but he’s just the consummate racehorse. He does everything good.

“We’ll see how he is. I wouldn't think he’ll have many runs, I don't want to over tax him,” Size added.


Nothingilikemore impresses his return to action under Joao Moreira, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Jockey Joao Moreira was once again impressed with the Husson gelding, who took his record to five wins from five starts. The Australian-bred had not raced since April.

“I just wanted to keep things simple, avoid any complications,” the Brazilian said. “I made sure he was wide to come into a clear run, and when I pulled him out he just found another gear – he ran away from them and proved he’s as good as I think he is.

“I didn't feel the pace of the race was hot, but the pace that he himself had at the finish was very impressive.”

Gold Mount, meanwhile, could be headed to the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 10 December. The Excellent Art gelding arrived in Hong Kong last year as a BMW Hong Kong Derby prospect with a Royal Ascot win already to his name. He managed only 10th in that four-year-old classic but that did not dampen faith that he might yet have the talent to make his mark in the high grades.

After an impressive win in this afternoon’s Class 2 Bulgari Excellent Handicap (1800m), a rail-scraping run reminiscent of his Sha Tin debut score last February, Tony Cruz’s charge is back on track.

“His next race will be the international trial, the Jockey Club Cup (2000m) next month,” Cruz said after Zac Purton had partnered the bay to an easy hands-and-heels score.

“If he runs well there then hopefully he can get into a race at the internationals in December. I’ll give him the option of the mile and a half race, the Vase, and the 2000-metre race, the Hong Kong Cup, and we’ll see what happens.”

The Pan Sutong-owned British import made it two wins from five Hong Kong starts, with today’s triumph achieved off a mark of 99.

“He was good today,” Purton said. “He’s only a small horse and he had a big weight (128lb) today first-up, but he helps himself, he relaxes and he really quickens.”

The G2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) fell to the John Moore-trained Beauty Generation under Derek Leung, while the afternoon’s co-feature, the G2 Premier Bowl Handicap (1200m), went the way of the John Size-trained Mr Stunning, ridden by Nash Rawiller.

Rookie trainer Frankie Lor climbed to the top of the trainers’ premiership with a race-to-race double. Morethanlucky took race two under Karis Teetan and the Moreira-ridden Yourthewonforme followed up in the third.

Purton and trainer David Hall teamed to take the first with Lucky Time. Beauty Way was a well-backed winner of race four for Cruz and apprentice Matthew Poon, while Neil Callan drove the Peter Ho-trained Let’s Take It Easy to a battling win in the day’s fifth contest. Brett Prebble was aboard the victorious Super Fluke in race nine for trainer Dennis Yip.

Hong Kong racing resumes at Happy Valley on Wednesday, 25 October.