John Size will resist temptation with emerging talent Hot King Prawn after the grey remained unbeaten with his fourth effortless win in a row in the Class 3 Middle Handicap (1000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The John Size-trained Hot King Prawn extends his unbeaten run to four when he cruises home to win the Class 3 Middle Handicap in Race 7.
As a three-year-old, Hot King Prawn is eligible for the Griffin Trophy over 1400m on 23 December, where he would be treated favourably at the weights against horses rated far below him. This was the same race in which Pakistan Star scored his last win late last year.
However, Size said Hot King Prawn – who is yet to race beyond 1000m – is now unlikely to be seen again until the last few months of the season after his win as 1.4 favourite at Sha Tin on Sunday.
“I think he’d probably win the Griffin Trophy, but I’m not going to go against my usual training patterns just to win one race,” Size said. “I’m a bit too conservative for that. There’s no point extending him out in distance just because the race is there.
“He’s facing Class 2 now, so I’d say the likelihood is I give him a break before I attack Class 2. I would like to give him a few months to develop a bit more. I’d say the only way he races again in the next couple of months is if I can find an easy Class 2, and as we just saw, there’s not many of them,” Size added after his House Of Fun was edged out in the day’s Class 2 event.
For jockey Zac Purton, Hot King Prawn’s two and a quarter length victory carrying 130lb in a season-quickest time of 56.03s was his most impressive effort to date, especially given he was pressured early by Chad Schofield aboard second favourite Encore Boy (116lb).
“He was actually better today going flat out the whole way than he is if you sit up on him,” Purton said. “I was surprised that Encore Boy served it up to me as much as he did, but all it did was that it showed my fellow has more left in the tank. He had to keep rolling early to maintain his position and he was getting crowded for room, but once Encore Boy dropped off, he just picked the bit up and surged and clicked himself into another gear.”
While Purton says Hot King Prawn is comfortable over 1000m, he feels that the son of Denman won’t have any problems stretching out to 1200m.
“He’s such a relaxed horse that I don’t think the 1200m is going to be a problem,” the Australian rider said. “John’s a master at picking out the right race, so I’ll leave the race planning up to him.”
One winner on Sunday’s card who will push on to the Griffin Trophy is Michael Freedman-trained Sparkling Dragon (133lb), who won the Class 4 Granville Handicap (1400m) under Sam Clipperton in a driving finish over Paul O’Sullivan’s Win Beauty Win (132lb).
“I stepped him up to 1400m because this race was restricted to three-year-olds only,” Freedman said. “So it set up well for him and I was keen to have a look at him at 1400m, with the Griffin Trophy over that trip in three weeks’ time. He’s still quite new and even though he’s won twice by leading, I’d love to ride him in behind one day.
“For a young horse having his second start, carrying 133lb and leading all the way, it was a good tough effort. I haven’t been here long but they tell me they don’t do that too often. I’ve got a lot of time for him and I think he can continue to progress through the grades.”