Lui revels in Fantasy afternoon
Trainer celebrates 'perfect winning day' with all four of his runners coming home
A 100 per cent strike rate for the day was the Super Fantasy ending for Francis Lui Kin-wai at Happy Valley yesterday as the trainer celebrated four wins and the most successful training day of his career.
'I'm so thrilled. It's the first time I've had four wins and definitely the first day I've ever had a perfect winning day with all my runners,' Lui beamed after Craig Williams steered home Super Fantasy in the final event to land the 'perfecta'.
The Australian jockey had already won on General Kingy for Lui earlier and rounded out Lui's day with a copybook ride on the Marscay gelding.
'I came out to ride the horse and heard the television commentators say Francis was shooting for a 100 per cent day, so that was a little extra pressure! But I'm excited to have won the race for him and for the owners,' Williams said. 'I've had a bit of luck for one of the owners on his other horse, Fantasy, so it's always nice to win for people who stick with you. When I worked Super Fantasy this week, I was impressed. I think he's come on since last season and there's still some improvement to come mentally.'
Lui saddled up only Noble Heart, Lucky Dice, General Kingy and Super Fantasy at the meeting, with none of them ranked a short-priced favourite, but they were all that he needed.
Noble Heart (Felix Coetzee) set the ball rolling in the fifth event as he returned to top form with the addition of blinkers, one of three winners to have the shades applied yesterday.
'He has been a bit skinny, a bit difficult to put weight on, but his work had been good in the blinkers and with them on today he was a bit closer and got a nice run through the race,' Lui said. 'Felix, of course, did a fantastic job.'
Coetzee had worked Noble Heart with the blinkers in the lead-up to yesterday's race after Lui had offered him the race ride and he was amazed how strongly the four-year-old galloped.
'I couldn't bring the horse back to Francis quick enough to tell him I'd ride the horse,' Coetzee laughed. 'He was a little bit on and off the bridle early today but once he got some cover, he really concentrated and I knew we were in business.'
The Deputy Governor four-year-old scrambled home over fast-finishing Exultation, but Lui had a little more breathing space when rejuvenated Lucky Dice (Olivier Doleuze) took out the next race.
'His career has been affected in the past by problems with his joints,' Lui explained. 'But right now he seems quite sound. Olivier won on him last time and the horse really goes well for him.'
Doleuze said the six-year-old was showing the difference with his attitude in morning trackwork now that his leg problems have been sorted out.
'He feels good, happy in the mornings,' he said. 'He only has a fairly short sprint, but when we turned for home I could feel he had something to give me and when I asked him he gave it everything. He is in great form.'
Williams was aboard Lui's other two winners, with the gallant sprinter General Kingy another to have overcome some soundness issues last preparation to be in top form this season.
'He found that a bit easier than racing against Silent Witness last time,' smiled Lui. 'He has always been very genuine and always raced well at Happy Valley. With the class drop, I thought he had a good chance to win.'
The four-timer shot Lui to 10 wins for the term and leapfrogged him past five of his rival trainers in the standings.