Tsui targets Dubai riches with speed demon Lucky Quality
Dirt freak back with a vengeance to rack up his fourth win
Me Tsui Yu-sak has some serious thinking to do as he builds a bridge towards the Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen with brilliant dirt sprinter Lucky Quality.
Lucky Quality racked up his fourth win in a quick-fire six-start season and moved effortlessly out of all-weather racing with a commanding 13/4 length win in the Peninsula Golden Jubilee Challenge Cup (1,200m) at Sha Tin yesterday.
Lucky Quality also completed a double for the flamboyant Frenchman Olivier Doleuze, who earlier landed another dirt race on Top Top Light for Caspar Fownes. The double was the foundation for Doleuze winning the Jockey Challenge, with the best price bet being $7.50.
Tsui's four-year-old son of Elusive Quality completed an amazing three months, kicking off his season in September as a maiden in Class Four and yesterday landing the trophy race off a rating of 97.
Owner Dr Peter Wu Hin-ting has been so taken with the size and scope of Lucky Quality's three victories on the all-weather surface that he's eyeing the Group One sprint on dirt on Dubai World Cup night at the end of March. And that's a challenge for which Tsui does not yet have all the answers.
'He will be entered for the Golden Shaheen, but we are not sure if he will get selected,' Tsui said. 'Today, he won off a rating of 97 and he will go now to 104 or 105 - that may not be high enough to be sure of an invitation.'
One solution for horses in such circumstances is to go to Dubai early and earn a start in the Group One by winning one of the scheduled lead-ups at the Super Thursday meeting. But, according to Tsui, a self-funded early departure is not an option.
Therefore the only thing left for Lucky Quality will be to win again and further boost his rating, but having moved well into the Class One range now, he's completely run out of options on the all-weather track and will have to transpose that high level form to turf.
'Is he good enough to do that? 'I honestly don't know,' said Doleuze. 'This horse has tremendous speed and the trainer has done a wonderful job with him.
'At his previous race, he's finished last in the International Sprint Trial and on that evidence, the answer appears to be 'no'. But I think he's better than that and he's worth another chance - but maybe after he's had a little rest.'
Tsui was pleasantly relieved Lucky Quality was able to win again and confessed that he harboured reservations the speed demon was 'a little tired' - yesterday's race having come just 13 days after the international aspirants dusted him up at Group Two level. But owner Wu had the casting vote to run him again and was proved the better judge for the big occasion, with Lucky Quality scorching across the 1,200 metres to beat Sunny Golf (Darren Beadman) and Royal Pericles (Eddie Lai Wai-ming) in one minute 08.58 seconds.
For trivial pursuit buffs, what was the last horse that went from Class Four to Class One within the first three months of the season off four wins? Remembering that no horse in the history of Hong Kong racing has won more than six in a single season, four in the first three months may well be a new benchmark.
Sunny Golf continued his outstanding run of form with an every-chance second, and Beadman had no excuses to offer.
Sunny Golf's season is not far behind Lucky Quality's, with the Orientate gelding having started five times for three wins, a second and a third at 1,650m.