Clipperton out to make most of Size opportunity

For Clipperton, his eight-ride book at Sha Tin on Saturday represents his best group of rides for the season to date. In addition to Sparkling Dragon, he also has five rides for John Size, with the nine-time champion trainer turning to Clipperton in the absence of Joao Moreira.

“It’s always great to get rides off John Size, any rides, and I’m excited for the hand I have,” Clipperton said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity. He’s a champion trainer and you go to the races full of confidence that the horses are going to be well-prepared and spot on for the day.

“I haven’t had the best rides this season, certainly not collectively, but I’ve got a good book on the weekend so we go there with hope that we might get into the winners’ circle. It’s never a given though, but I’ll be trying my hardest.”

Calculation, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club

Among Clipperton’s rides for Size are last-start winner Infinity Endeavour in the Class 3 Luk Wu Handicap (1200m), Dinozzo in the Class 2 Long Ke Handicap (2000m) and Calculation in the closer, the Class 3 Pak Tam Au Handicap (1400m).

“Calculation is in very good form and he looks to be knocking on the door,” the Australian jockey said. “The penny seems to have dropped with him, I know he won last season but he’s taken a little while to come to hand this time in. His last two runs have been very good and, hopefully, an indication of what’s to come.”

Calculation’s owner Hui Sai Fun, who had his first winner in 1957, will create history the next time one of his horses finds the winners’ circle, as he will become the first Hong Kong owner to have 100 wins next to his name. The nonagenarian is also represented by Volitation, now trained by Frankie Lor, in the Class 3 Pak Tam Chung Handicap (1650m) on dirt, with Clipperton also in the saddle.

“His first-up run was very good, and he’ll improve from that obviously,” the Australian jockey said of the Shocking five-year-old, who debuts on the Sha Tin all-weather track. “His recent trial on the dirt was terrific, he’s trialled well on the surface in the past and he’s given every indication that he should handle it come raceday. He also seems to be a horse better suited fresh, so I think he’ll perform well.

“Both of Mr Hui’s horses look to be chances, and he’s obviously been such an important owner throughout Hong Kong history. It really is an amazing record.”

Sam Clipperton on Sparkling Dragon, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club