Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s Australian import Furore did not set the world alight with his debut Hong Kong run but it was enough for one prominent trainer to declare him as his pick for this season’s Derby.
The high praise was earned after the four-year-old was posted wide for most the 1,400m trip last month against a strong pace and fought on well to finish seventh.
Dealt no favours with a wide draw on that occasion, Furore will again have to do it the hard way from barrier 13 when he steps up in distance in the Class Two Lung Kong Handicap (1,600m) on Sunday as a final hit-out for the four-year-old series beginning later this month.
As a four-time winner in Australia, the son of Pierro has secured his spot in the series with a rating of 92, but jockey Derek Leung Ka-chun hopes he can go in a winner after this weekend.
“Last time he was first-up in Hong Kong and didn’t run too bad, he was caught three wide and the pace was very fast, the horse just stayed on for the last 100m,” he said. “This time we have a bad draw again but looking at the field, the pace shouldn’t be as fast as last time.”
As just one piece in Lor’s Derby puzzle, Furore trialled well before going to the races in Hong Kong, competing against the likes of recent winner Waikuku.
The second-year trainer has the strongest hand of anyone heading into the series, boasting the likes of Dark Dream, Superich, Heavenly Thought, Glorious Spectrum and Kings Shield alongside Furore.
Leung believes with his best form in Australia over distances as far as 2,100m, Furore is still growing in Hong Kong and has fitness in hand.
“The fitness keeps on improving, even from the trials. Last time he learned a lot from the outside draw so he will do that again here,” he said.
“He is quite straightforward, he has a good temperament, he is quiet but sharp at the same time, he doesn’t travel too strongly in the races which is good as well. He is a stayer so I think a mile is better for him.”
The race is set to be the final tune up for a number of Derby hopefuls before they enter the lucrative four-year-old series.
The likes of Easy Go Easy Win, Heavenly Thought, Tigre Du Terre, Charity Go, Helene Leadingstar, Enrichment, Ka Ying Star and Classic Beauty are all eligible to compete.
Champion jockey Zac Purton is set to have the pick of the bunch heading into the series having already ridden a number of contenders in Superich, Dark Dream and Green Luck, while he will also pick up the ride of Charity Go on Sunday.
The Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained gelding has performed well in Hong Kong in his two starts to date despite drawing wide on both occasions.