12/10/2017 8:32AM

Mr. Stunning rolls in Hong Kong Sprint

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mr. Stunning (right) holds off a late-charging D B Pin to win the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse.

John Size is widely judged to be one of the top two trainers in Hong Kong, and his record in the Hong Kong International Races got closer to his general esteem after Mr. Stunning beat D B Pin by a neck in the Group 1, $2,370,220 Hong Kong Sprint on Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Size trains both horses, as well as fifth-place finisher Amazing Kids and seventh-place Thewizardofoz. Not a bad haul for one race.

Mr. Stunning looked like the Hong Kong Sprint winner when he scored a blowout win Nov. 19 in the Jockey Club Sprint, and, under Nash Rawiller, he looked like a winner every step of Sunday’s race.

Mr. Stunning broke on top from post 4, was guided to the rail, and pulled a perfect ground-saving trip as Peniaphobia and Once in a Moon led through an opening 400 meters in 23.37 seconds. Rawiller, wanting very much not to get his heavily favored mount in any sort of traffic, moved on the leaders earlier than might have been ideal, and at the 200-meter mark had opened a lead of a couple lengths. D B Pin, seventh early, was rolling on the far outside, but after he’d closed to Mr. Stunning’s hindquarters in the final 100 meters. Mr. Stunning surged again to post the victory.

“The early pressure wasn’t quite what I expected,” said Rawiller, who won his first Hong Kong International race. “I wasn’t going to give ground on the best horse. I wasn’t too worried.”

The top two were much the best, with Blizzard 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Then came Lucky Bubbles, an unlucky second in this race last year, and Amazing Kids, with the Japanese horse Let’s Go Donki in sixth the first horse home who is not based in Hong Kong. Stormy Liberal, the lone American runner in Sunday’s races, raced wide and near the back of the field and never got involved, finishing 11th.

Mr. Stunning paid $3.90 on the North American tote and was timed in 1:08.40 for the 1200 meters on a course rated good. Owned by Maurice Koo Win Chong, Mr. Stunning is in his third Hong Kong season of racing, and whatever happens from here, he already has put together an excellent career.

His third straight win ran his career mark to 16-10-2-1, while the $1,351,025 winner’s share of the purse boosted his earnings to $3,462,263. The 5-year-old gelding is by Exceed and Excel and out of the Dayjur mare With Fervour. He was bred in Australia but has an American family, as his second dam is Fran’s Valentine, the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner With Anticipation.