Trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen helped Derek Leung Ka-chun snap a mid-season slump at Sha Tin on Sunday and they combine again with Turin Redstar at Wednesday night’s all-dirt meeting.
Leung endured a 55 race run of outs before Midnite Promise’s win in the opening race, going without a winner for a seven-meeting stretch that lasted more than a month.
“There was a suspension in there too, so it seemed like longer,” Leung said. “That’s just how it goes in Hong Kong sometimes. You get a suspension, a couple of photos go against you and all of a sudden you haven’t had a winner for a month. I got back in the winner’s circle on Sunday and now I can start building some momentum again.”
Leung is fourth among active riders in the jockeys’ championship with 30 victories and still holds a five-win lead over apprentices Dylan Mo Hin-tung and Matthew Poon Ming-fai in the race for the Tony Cruz Award for leading local rider.
Turin Redstar switches to the all-weather track and beyond 1,400m for the first time in the Class Three South Bay Handicap (1,650m).
Leung hopes Turin Redstar’s overseas form on non-turf surfaces – he won three times on polytracks in England – transfers to Sha Tin’s American-style dirt.
“And he has felt good in his trials on the track and he has a great draw,” he said.
The only concern for Leung is top weight of 133 pounds.
“We can forgive him last start, we were back in the field from a wide barrier and I had to try something and go early. But still, in the two starts since he won for me he has had those big weights and has been a bit one-paced,” Leung said. “So it’s the weight that worries me more than the 1,650m, from barrier four I should be able to get a good spot in the run and that will help.”
Leung rides Fight Hero in the Class Two Victoria Racing Club Trophy (1,650m) and believes Me Tsui Yu-sak’s veteran “gets” the extended mile despite a zero for three record.
“Because he is a back-marker it is hard for him at 1,200m, especially if the track is helping the on-pace horses,” Leung said. “At 1,650m he doesn’t have to give them as big a start. It’s a good race and a strong field but I can see there being a lot of pace, I’ll be sitting midfield or further back and if they go hard up front my horse will be finishing off strongly.”