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Glorious Days showed an impressive turn-of-foot to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) and give trainer John Sizehis first ever victory in one of the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin yesterday.
Size made the unusual decision to set Glorious Days for the Hong Kong Mile first-up but the decision paid dividends for the leading trainer; with the Hussonet gelding’s freshness proving an advantage in the final stages of the race.
Glorious Days was settled towards the tail of the field by jockey Douglas Whyte and swept out wide at the 400 metre mark before showing exceptional acceleration to chase down Gold-Fun, who received a tremendous run just off the speed, and record his third victory at Group 1 level.
The six-year-old failed to perform at his best at the start of the year, finishing third in the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m), fourth in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) and eleventh in the Group 1 Yasuda Kinen (1609m), and his Hong Kong Mile victory capped of an outstanding training performance from Size.
“These races have escaped me in the past but it’s sweet now it has happened,” Size said after the race.
“He’s an easy horse to train, and I just left him alone when he wasn’t right earlier in the year.
“About six weeks ago he started to tell us that he would be ready to compete at this International race meeting, and we’ve been getting more and more confident since then.”
Jockey Douglas Whyte was always confident heading into the Hong Kong Mile but said that he was impressed with how quickly Glorious Days responded when asked for an extra effort with about 400 metres left to run.
“He was travelling pretty comfortably,” Whyte said.
“I just hoped that he could produce what he’s capable of.
“I was alongside Moonlight Cloud and my horse then quickened up quite brilliantly.
“I just needed to keep his momentum going.”
French superstar Moonlight Cloud was well-backed in the lead-up to the Hong Kong Mile but was one of the first horses beaten and finishes her racing career without a victory outside of France.
Trainer Freddie Head said that Moonlight Cloud was unable to relax during the run, which he believes killed any winning chances, and confirmed that the six-time Group 1 winner would likely be retired to serve as a brood mare.
“She went way too freely, which was not the plan,” Head said.
“We know that she barely gets the mile and our objective was to try to get her to relax.
“But she was doing the opposite and at the end she was pretty well spent when making her move.
“I think that will be it, she has been a wonderful servant and I am more than hopeful that she will prove just as good as a broodmare.
“Looking at her now, walking round after her race, she looks fantastic and I am very proud of what she has achieved.”
Stradbroke Handicap winner Linton was the only Australian equine representative at Sha Tin yesterday and failed to perform at his best, beating home just a single runner, in what was his last start for Malua Racing before continuing his racing career in Dubai.
”He just didn’t fire today,” jockey Damien Oliver said.
“He was well below his best and didn’t kick like he can when he’s at his best.”
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