In the internationally competitive world of Hong Kong thoroughbred racing, Australian John Size achieved the remarkable feat in July 2017 of becoming for the ninth time the champion trainer. He had first been Hong Kong’s champion trainer in his first year there, 2001/02. The Australian Racing Hall of Fame Legend, jockey-trainer George Moore, set the benchmark with eleven Hong Kong training premierships between 1973 and 1985.
John Size initially went to Hong Kong with a modest but growing reputation as a trainer in Sydney. His specialty was getting the best out of the available talent in his stable. This skill he took with him to Hong Kong.
Born in Brisbane in 1954, raised in Dalby, Size had first aspired to be a jockey. When weight issues curtailed this career, he started working with the astute Queensland trainer Henry Davis. Size was still in his twenties when he first took out his own training licence.
Some success followed, although in the early 1990s Size took time out to work as a form analyst for bookmaker Mark Read. This experience certainly was put to good use when Size resumed his training career in Queensland in 1994.
Size relocated to New South Wales in 1996, establishing stables at Randwick, and soon began climbing in the rankings. He was third in the Sydney training premiership in season 2000/01 before applying for a trainer’s licence in Hong Kong. His ninth championship in 2016/17 saw him set a new record for most winners in a season with 94. He has trained the winners of two Horse of the Year titles, the multiple Hong Kong Group 1 scorers Electronic Unicorn and Grand Delight.
To underscore the magnitude of his achievement, Size surpassed the number of Hong Kong premierships of such esteemed trainers as David Hayes, Tony Cruz and John Moore.
“He understands his horses very well. He reads the races superbly and his analysis of races is very, very good.” (Champion jockey, Felix Coetzee)
Image Source: Bruno Cannatelli