Frankie Lor Fu-chuen has already established himself as the “King of Class Five” and can maintain his lead in the trainers’ championship with another two wins in the bottom grade at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with Brilliant Monkeys and Seven Luck.
Lor started the season with 13 horses rated 40 or lower but has turned many of the stable transfers’ form around and compiled an incredible strike rate in Class Five so far.
The first-year sensation’s 23 wins give him a lead of six in championship race over former boss John Size after 25 meetings and an overall strike rate of 22 per cent is also the best of any trainer.
In Class Five, Lor has won an incredible 11 from 26 for a strike rate of 42 per cent and he looks primed to build on that with Brilliant Monkeys and Seven Luck.
Brilliant Monkeys had a two from 22 record for former trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai but hadn’t won since December 2015 and struggled with various issues including bleeding attacks and chronic joint problems.
Lor and his staff seem to have Brilliant Monkeys feeling good again and it also helps that the seven-year-old’s rating has dropped to 30.
Brilliant Monkeys went to the races after two good trials and some solid groundwork, Lor choosing 1,400m assignments at Sha Tin, the scene of the gelding’s two wins.
Drawn barrier 10, Brilliant Monkeys was away slowly and Nash Rawiller was forced to settle near the rear of the field in a race where front runner Gainfuljet controlled proceedings.
Brilliant Monkeys rattled for home fourth, clocking 22.99 seconds for his final 400m, indicating he has bounced back to his best.
Now Lor tries the city track for just the second time in the horse’s career and 1,650m in the To Kwa Wan Handicap.
The only other try in town was an unplaced effort up in Class Four and there is no reason Brilliant Monkeys won’t appreciate the less demanding course – in fact it may suit him more.
A bonus is drawing barrier two, giving Rawiller the chance to be closer in the run – something Brilliant Monkeys was able to do successfully previously.
Also drawing a better barrier is Seven Luck, with jockey Karis Teetan getting the benefit of gate three in the San Po Kong Handicap (1,200m).
Seven Luck was a first-up winner over 1,000m at the Valley for Lor after 12 previous starts with Dennis Yip Chor-hong but was beaten second-up as 2.3 favourite.
Jumping from barrier eight, Teetan was questioned by stewards over his tactics after allowing Seven Luck to settle near last in the sprint.
Teetan told stewards Seven Luck hadn’t shown the same speed that allowed the gelding to take a prominent position from barrier one at his previous start.
That, and the way Seven Luck found the line for fifth, indicates the 1,200m should be perfect for the five-year-old this time.
Lor also has two last start winners heading back to the Valley that will be hard to beat with Confucius Spirit (Alex Badel) coming up with barrier one in the Class Four Kowloon City Handicap (1,200m) and Fruitful Life (Teetan) stepping up to 2,200m in the Class Four Ma Tau Wai Handicap.
Confucius Spirit only just scraped home last start but was forced to come from second last after jumping from a wide gate.
Barrier one means Badel can be closer in the run, a racing pattern that has worked for Confucius Spirit in the past.
Fruitful Life stepped up to 1,800m from 1,650m successfully last start but the improvement should continue as the five-year-old again goes over further.