Star trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen has won almost every major race in Hong Kong this term but there is a new title he can add to his resume – he is Sha Tin’s king of dirt racing.
The second-season sensation has had more winners on the all-weather surface than any other trainer since he started and boasts a strike rate nearly double that of his overall record.
Me Tsui Yu-sak, who travelled his top-rated Fight Hero to Dubai to race on dirt, was once considered the man to beat on the Sha Tin all-weather track, but Lor has eclipsed him, with 26 winners since the start of last season compared to Tsui’s 23.
Lor has also had 52 less runners on the surface than Tsui over the same period of time.
“It’s just because of the horse,” Lor previously told The Post when addressing his 27 per cent winning strike rate on the surface.
“Sometimes they are not very good on the turf so you need to change things up. Some love the dirt – there can be a big difference in their performance.
“I don’t do anything different with them, but you can trial them on the dirt and see which ones would race better on it.”
Coby Oppa is bred to relish dirt racing (by high-class American horse The Factor) and continues Frankie Lor's hot streak on the Sha Tin AW by running away with R4 under @KarisTeetan #HKracing pic.twitter.com/uJy4ab5Omw— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) February 10, 2019
Should an all-weather surface trainers’ premiership table be created, Lor would sit clearly on top ahead of Tsui and fellow local trainer Peter Ho Leung, who will saddle up six horses at Wednesday night’s rare all-weather Sha Tin meeting.
Big-name trainers such as John Size, Tony Cruz and John Moore have combined for just nine dirt winners this season.
David Ferraris, Ricky Yiu Poon-fai and Francis Lui Kin-wai are the only trainers not to have an all-weather track winner this season.
Such is his dominance on the surface, Lor went on a six-race winning streak earlier this season, which was only broken after jockey Zac Purton was wiped out on the turn aboard Glorious Artist before storming home to run second by the finest of margins.
Lor will take three proven dirt performers to Sha Tin on Wednesday night as the Jockey Club gives the Happy Valley surface a break.
Coby Oppa will line up in the first section of the Class Three Hin Yiu Handicap (1,200m), along with Simply Big in the second section, while Good Fit competes in the Class Three Mei Lam Handicap (1,800m).
Rockage will race on the surface for the first time in the Class Five Sun Tin Wai Handicap (1,200m), while Star Luck in the Class Four Mei Tin Handicap (1,200m) along with Vincy.
Lor’s freshly minted apprentice Alfred Chan Ka-Hei will ride Rockage and Simply Big for his master which will be given the advantage of a 10-pound claim.
He will also jump aboard Tsui’s Very Sweet Orange who is on the cusp of a breakthrough victory along with the Richard Gibson-trained Right Honourable.