Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s fast start was already the story of the season so far but the freshman sensation shifted into another gear on Wednesday night with a three-timer that gave him 18 winners from as many meetings and extended his trainers’ championship lead to six.
Foxbat, Diamond Friends and Imperial Concorde gave Lor wins in three of the first five races at the Sha Tin all-dirt meeting – his first career treble – and his night was done, having compiled the feat with just four runners.
The three-win haul sent the stable’s strike rate soaring to a remarkable 25 per cent and Lor said that while his fast start wasn’t necessarily by design, sending his runners to the races ready to fire certainly was.
“I just watch them at trackwork and in their trials, when they are healthy and in-form, we enter them for a race,” he said.
The simple approach has certainly been effective so far, particularly with Lor’s Class Five runners. Wins with Foxbat (Karis Teetan) and Diamond Friends (Joao Moreira) pushed Lor’s record in the grade to 10 wins from 21 starters.
“Foxbat was disappointing last time, I thought he had a good chance at 1,400m,” Lor said. “He trialled pretty well on the dirt though so we put him in a race to see how he would go.”
Diamond Friends was sent out a short-priced favourite but was made to work hard to catch runaway leader Winningli after a daring ride from apprentice Dylan Mo Hin-tung on the front-runner.
“He nearly stole it too,” Lor said. “Hopefully the narrow margin means my horse will stay in the grade. He is racing well and he obviously likes the dirt.”
Teetan brought up a double for the stable when Imperial Concorde went one better after a narrow last start defeat.
On that occasion, Teetan found trouble in running but this time dropped back from a wide gate and stormed home wide on the dirt track to score.
“I don’t think taking inside runs helped him last time, he is a horse that just needs to be left alone and come wide,” Lor said.
Mythical Emperor had trialled well on the dirt before his last start success at Sha Tin and carried the form on to the surface with an all-the-way win that gave Jack Wong Ho-nam a double.
After winning a close one earlier in the night on Giddy Giddy for John Size, finding the front and clear running on the free-striding Mythical Emperor was key.
“I was worried he wouldn’t be able to cross to the fence like he did,” said Mythical Emperor’s trainer Chis So Wai-yin.
“Once he got that sole lead he was always going to be hard to run down. This horse has won twice on the turf at Sha Tin but I think the dirt could be his best surface now. Not because he handles the surface better, but because of his running style. A leader like him can be really hard to catch with those tactics.”
So later made it a double of his own and moved into outright second in the trainers’ championship with 12 wins when Classic Emperor (Keith Yeung Ming-lun) won by nearly seven lengths in Class Two.
After three-year-old Pick Number One scored on debut his trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing pleaded for some clemency from the handicapper, if only to ensure jockey Zac Purton retains the ride.
“If he gets eight points or less Zac can stay on him,” Shum said. “I really like this horse, he is big, over 1,200 pounds, and he is by Darci Brahma so I think maybe in the future he could get over 1,400m or even a mile.”
Purton was given a two-meeting suspension for his ride on Pick Number One on what was a busy night for stewards, with Tommy Berry (race five) and Olivier Doleuze (race three) also slugged with two-meeting bans.
Red Marvel’s grinding win meant both Size and Moreira went home with doubles, with the Brazilian rider capturing the Jockey Challenge.