John Size remains optimistic over Hot King Prawn and Courier Wonder’s Group 2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) prospects at Sha Tin on Sunday (21 November) after the pair’s impressive trial performances Friday morning (12 November).
Ridden by Vagner Borges, Hot King Prawn idled to the line in third place behind Douglas Whyte-trained Stronger – a likely opponent next week – and Frankie Lor’s Master Eight, while steadily improving to the line after 1050m on Sha Tin’s dirt course.
Finishing two and a quarter lengths adrift of Stronger, Hot King Prawn satisfied Size ahead of his seasonal return.
“He seems okay, he seems to be in pretty good shape,” Size said. “He’s just been normal over the last couple of months. He’s trained up nicely.”
The beneficiary of four trials since last spelling, Hot King Prawn has not raced since finishing fifth behind Wellington in the Class 1 Lantau Island Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin on 13 March.
Stronger (Vincent Ho) clocked 1m 01.29s in shading Master Eight (Joao Moreira) by half a length in the pipe-opener.
Courier Wonder, who looks to rebound after a luckless first-up fifth last month, swept to victory in his 1200m workout, clocking 1m 10.27s while defeating David Hayes-trained Decrypt by three quarters of a length.
Star stayer Panfield surged to the line under Karis Teetan to grab third place, two lengths from the winner.
Size was pleased with Courier Wonder, winner of five successive races last season.
“He seems like he’s in good order, also,” the 11-time champion trainer said.
“After the first race, he seems a little bit fitter. He looks a little bit better, so he seems fine.”
Size was satisfied with Waikuku’s five and a quarter length sixth behind stablemate Courier Wonder under Zac Purton ahead of the Group 2 BOCHK Private Wealth Jockey Club Mile (1600m) in nine days.
“He seems good, he’s healthy and he’s strong,” Size said. “He’s certainly interested in what he’s doing. He trials in his own sort of fashion but race-day he knows it’s on.”