Frankie Lor Fu-chuen will be “trying his best” to outdo former boss John Size when two of his horses step into the path of a pair of the master trainer’s promising three-year-olds on Wednesday night.
Lor only takes three horses to Happy Valley and the best two of those must overcome Size gallopers in red-hot form – Turin Redstar meets Red Warrior in the Class Two Tokyo Handicap (1,650m) and Flash Famous runs into Country Star in the Class Three Japan Racing Association Trophy (1,200m).
Red Warrior has won two of his three career starts after debuting this season, but Lor hopes Turin Redstar can hold his own after three consecutive seconds.
“I hope he is ready to breakthrough but Mr Size’s horse Red Warrior is very strong,” Lor said. “We drew six, it’s not too bad, not too good. I would have preferred three or four but draw six is OK. My horse is in good form.”
A big plus for Turin Redstar is that Derek Leung Ka-chun is back aboard, the jockey who has partnered the gelding to his two wins but is yet to ride him so far this season.
“I’ve put Derek Leung back on, I think that will be better for the horse,” Lor said. “First-up this season I asked the owner which jockey they wanted.
“I said ‘shall I still put Derek on?’ because Derek has ridden the horse to two wins but the owner said ‘try Zac Purton’.
“So the first time I put Zac on but he was beaten by Derek Leung [on Circuit Glory],” Lor added with a laugh. “Last time Derek was suspended so I couldn’t use him.”
Purton will ride Red Warrior and has his chance for revenge, while Lor is aware of the limitations of Turin Redstar, who is yet to win at the Valley.
“I think he can handle Happy Valley and also the all-weather track, but Class Two at Sha Tin might be a little bit strong for him, so I think I’ll stick to the Valley and the all-weather track for him,” he said.
Lor doesn’t know what to expect from Flash Famous, who has finished 10th in his last two starts and has proven an unpredictable prospect.
“This horse is a little bit funny, last season when he dropped down to Class Four he won and when he went back to Class Three, the first start he was close then I tried a mile and it wasn’t good for him,” Lor said.
“This time we will try the Happy Valley 1,200m to see if its any different but unfortunately we have Mr Size’s horse again.”
Like Red Warrior, Country Star is looking to make it three wins on the bounce after two impressive wins over the Valley 1,200m, with Purton again in the saddle.
Looking Good rounds out Lor’s hand for the night in the Class Four Chukyo Handicap (1,200m) and the trainer will be hoping a change in jockey can bring about a turn in the horse’s fortunes, with Grant van Niekerk climbing aboard in the absence of regular rider Alberto Sanna, who is working his way back from a hip fracture.
After winning on debut back in May, Looking Good has been on the slide ever since, rounding out last season with a second and a fourth before dishing up a 12th and a 13th this term.