Frankie Lor Fu-chuen and his brother-in-law Peter Ho Wah-lun teamed up for a winner on Hong Kong Macau Trophy Day a year ago and the pair are hoping for another fruitful family reunion at Sha Tin on Saturday.
Ho, who rode in Hong Kong before moving to Taipa racecourse in 1998, and Lor team up three times on a big day for the visiting jockey.
Ho has scored seven rides from a host of different trainers – including The Alfonso in the day’s feature, the Class One Hong Kong Macau Trophy (1,400m) – but is most excited about teaming up with Lor.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Ho said of riding for the white-hot Lor.
Second-year trainer Lor, who is married to Ho’s older sister Nikie, has every reason to have faith in his brother-in-law after he piloted Voyage King to victory in the last race on this day last year.
“Hopefully he can win for me again,” Lor laughed.
Ho also climbs aboard Voyage King for Lor this time around, as well as Little Wise Man and Super Missile, and is confident he can again board the ferry home a winner.
“He has given me three rides, all of which I think are a good chance,” Ho said.
He also rides for Michael Chang Chun-wai (Surewin), Francis Lui Kin-wai (Diamond Dragon) and Tony Cruz (Mr Aldan), while he hopes to put in a good showing aboard The Alfonso in the feature.
The Alfonso finished second in the race in 2016 and has twice run at Group Three level in Hong Kong, finishing fifth in the 2017 Centenary Vase.
“The horse is in quite good form and has had good experience,” Ho said. “Unfortunately I picked a bad draw , but hopefully if the pace is fast, I can maybe take the fence and give him a good chance.”
There are five Macau horses in town for the second leg of the annual interport series – the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Horse Of Fortune took out the first leg at Taipa in March – and the Leong Kuok-hou-trained Pearl Green looks the pick.
Pearl Green ran third behind Horse Of Fortune in March before saluting at his next start and jockey Oscar Chavez says the gelding, who will jump from barrier nine, is in top order.
“He pulled up well this morning, he was very fresh,” he said. “Barrier nine is not too bad, he is a horse that travels up on the pace so from barrier nine, I don’t think it will be any issue to be up there with them.”
Chavez knows the Macau contingent have their work cut out for them – Viva Pronto in 2010 was the last Macau horse to win the Hong Kong leg of the series – but is not going in without hope of an upset.
“The Hong Kong horses are top horses, I know it’s tough and this race is not an easy race but as long as our horses are fit enough we will give them a fight. This is just another race, it’s a matter of which is the better horse,” he said.
“I worked Pearl Green this morning and I worked The Alfonso, both horses are working really well. I think these are the two best horses of the five.”
Leong was realistic about Pearl Green’s chances: “I think the Hong Kong horses are much better, but I have some hope. I’m excited to be here and my horse is in good form.”