Frankie Lor Fu-chuen will use Tuesday’s Group Three Celebration Cup (1,400m) as a pointer for his Hong Kong Derby winner Furore.
The five-year-old returns to the races for the first time since running a disappointing 10th in the Group One FWD QE II Cup (2,000m) in April and Lor said he is none the wiser as to the gelding’s best distance.
Should he perform well under handicap conditions in the 1,400m hit-out against champion Beauty Generation, Lor said he would happily target feature races over 1,600m but conceded he may also be forced to race him over 2,000m should he be left wanting extra ground.
With the 137-rated Beauty Generation throwing the weights into disarray, most of his competitors have been dealt the bottom weight of 113 pounds, setting trainers on a mad scramble to find lightweight jockeys.
“We have got Grant [van Niekerk],” Lor said. “It was not easy to get a jockey for this race, we have got 113 pounds.”
Lor said he believed Furore was ready to take on open company after his success in both the four-year-old Classic Mile and Derby last season.
“He looks good, I trialled him last week,” he said. “I think in the QE II, he had been going for a long time and had to verse the older horses but everything has been good since then.”
With his rating at 109 Furore has a limited schedule, with Group One racing his only real option.
“We will race him first-up then we will see if he has changed at all, if he is different, then we can tell where to go,” Lor said.
“We need to see what Beauty Generation does as well, we have a handicap here so that is OK but it is different after that so we will work out if we go over a mile or 2,000m going forward.
“I think at the light weight he can be dangerous over a mile.”
With HK$18 million in the bank for his connections, Furore has all but done his job already, but Lor said he was happy just to have a healthy horse after former Derby winner Ping Hai Star’s retirement earlier this week.
He joined Rapper Dragon as former Derby winners who had broken down soon after the race.
“The biggest thing is he is healthy, so I am happy. You look at some of the former winners and they are not,” Lor said.
“Usually after the Derby horses seem to get injured, so for Furore to be healthy it is very good.”
Furore will be Lor’s only runner in either the Celebration Cup or Group Three National Day Cup (1,000m) on Tuesday, with the top local trainer taking a long-term view for his gun sprinter Mr Stunning.
The dual Group One winner was scratched the day before the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize in April and will return under set weights conditions in November.
With the likelihood of having to carry the top weight of 133 pounds over an unfavourable 1,000m trip, Lor said he opted against starting him first-up on Tuesday.
“It is over 1,000m so Mr Stunning is not ready, his target is the [Group Two Jockey Club Sprint],” he said.