Fownes loses Mr Wonderful

Robin Parke

LONG-serving trainer Lawrie Fownes started his annual holiday on a sour note with the news that he had lost smart first-season performer Mr Wonderful.

He has also lost the middle-grade sprinter Splendid Timing with both horses going to next season's new trainer, Andy Leung Ting-wah, formerly assistant trainer to David Oughton.

New Zealand import Mr Wonderful won first time out and subsequently ran second twice to the ultra-smart Viva Icta, strongly suggesting that he had a bright future.

His efforts had amassed prizemoney of almost $1 million and Fownes was hoping to land a good race with him next season. Leung, who will be supplied with 10 new horses by the Jockey Club, is joined as the new local trainer next season by Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.

Meanwhile, the only member of the Moore family not really celebrating over the weekend was former multiple Hong Kong champion jockey, Gary.

He was delighted to see brother John officially presented with the trainers' championship trophy and was one of the first to congratulate old weighing room colleague and friend, Tony Cruz, on his superb title achievement.

But the bad news for Moore was the enforced withdrawal of the David Hayes-trained Dark Ksar from Monday's Brisbane Cup.

Moore was down to have his first ride in Australia in eight years on the horse but it was pulled out with suspensory problems.

'It was a blow, I have to admit that. The horse had a second-to-none chance on his form and it would have been a good comeback chance in Australia,' Moore said. 'I have missed that ride and I also missed out on the International Bowl in Hong Kong when Sand Reef did not come.'