Trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen has confirmed Hugh Bowman will ride Furore as planned in this weekend’s BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m), despite the jockey leaving Flemington early on Saturday to be with his wife, Christine, who required medical attention.
Bowman left the track to return to Sydney after riding Osborne Bulls in the Group One Newmarket Handicap and also stood down from his rides in Canberra on Sunday, but told Racing Victoria on Sunday that his wife’s health had improved.
“Thank you for everyone’s well wishes this afternoon. There are no tragic circumstances & it is a family matter. Everyone’s thoughts & understanding is appreciated,” Bowman tweeted on Saturday.
Bowman, who forfeited his ride on hot favourite Avilius in the Australian Cup, is likely to return to riding on Wednesday and Lor said it is all systems go towards Sunday’s HK$18 million feature.
“I think all is OK as far as riding in the Derby. He hasn’t told me otherwise so it should be OK,” Lor said. “No news should be good news.”
Furore is rated a $5 chance in overseas markets and has barely put a foot wrong in the four-year-old series, winning the Classic Mile and running on strongly for fourth in the Classic Cup (1,800m) when most horses struggled to make ground.
Lor said the horse is going as well as possible but knows Thursday’s barrier draw is crucial because of the awkward positioning of the 2,000m start.
“He is in good form. A lot depends on the draw over the 2,000m because they jump and they are turning already,” he said.
Lor is looking to complete a clean sweep of the four-year-old series and takes a three-strong hand into the Derby, with the much-vaunted Dark Dream and Classic Cup winner Mission Tycoon joining Furore.
While Lor dominated Derby conversation for much of the build-up, John Size’s Waikuku has taken over that mantle in recent weeks after a string of impressive wins and Zac Purton, who rides Dark Dream, knows he will be up against it.
“Waikuku was very impressive and is a good, solid chance in the race. He has got good tactical speed, can position up handy or take a sit a bit further back because he has a good turn of foot. He will be hard to beat,” said Purton, adding that he wished the Derby had been run on the weekend just gone.
“His trial was good but it would have been nice to have a soft track for him. He has shown so far that he has been a little bit more effective on soft ground, but he has run well on firm ground as well. I think he is just a little bit better on soft ground.”