Douglas Whyte was the first person to bring him to my attention. It was about eight years ago. “This kid is very good,” said the champion South African rider. “He’s got great hands and certainly has potential. My only concern is that he’s already a tall boy. This might work against him.” It hasn’t.
During the off season, the HKJC sent now 30 year old Derek Leung to France to gain more experience by working for the great trainer Andre Fabre. One understands that Fabre, too, commented on the Hong Kong born rider’s hands. He also mentioned the rider’s attitude. Positive and always willing to learn.
The remarkable thing about the news that John Size has been inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame is that most of his success has taken place in Hong Kong. But for a born and bred Australian to succeed so magnificently on “foreign soil” and having started his career here with only 19 horses yet went on to beat the great Ivan Allan by two to win the Hong Kong Trainers Championship in his first season, says much about the man wherever in the world he is.
As then Chief Steward of the HKJC John Schreck aka “The Sheriff” commented at the time, “I think what Mr Size has done reflects greatly on Australian racing people, for which I am very grateful.”
Just when thinking we’ve regressed even further by taking music down a well trodden path of banality through a reboot of “American Idol”, there suddenly appeared David Byrne being interviewed by Stephen Colbert- sharp, well read, always the musical iconoclast talking about perhaps writing a musical about Jared Kuchner before taking viewers on a new take on everywhere music has yet to travel with “Everybody’s Coming To My House”.
The track catches you off guard. But you go for the ride and the further you do, there’s the feeling, Virginia, that really is a Santa Claus and all is not lost. There’s the flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.
Two days earlier, a key player in sports entertainment, but with little or no interest in horse racing was offering their thoughts on the future of the sport- the main point being that the format has to change, or else there needs to be more options other than what’s offered today. This might sound sacrilegious to the old school and hardcore racing crowd, but his first thought was that there will be the day when there might be less races in a meeting without the thirty minute intervals. Of course, this is something asked by many who are new to a day at the races: Why can’t there be less time between races?
He next asked if a race meeting could “mix it up more” by having some races where only female riders competed against each other and other races where they would ride against their male counterparts. He wasn’t being sexist. Just thinking that this might have sponsorship appeal and create more on-course interest. There were other ideas, but ideas remain ideas unless being able to jump over various rules firmly in place, ignoring the joys of over-thinking and that refusal to change.