Frankie Lor Fu-chuen hopes Big Party can join the upper echelon of Hong Kong’s speedsters after crushing his rivals in Sunday’s Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m).
Any issues the talented grey once had appear to be in the rear-view mirror as he saluted in seemingly effortless fashion down the Sha Tin straight.
Jockey Grant van Niekerk, a late replacement for the ill Joao Moreira, never had to pull the persuader, simply giving Big Party a little shake-up with about 250m to go.
The gelding responded in style to beat Big Time Baby by a length and three-quarters with Thanks Forever a further length back in third.
While the handicap conditions were in Big Party’s favour – he carried just 118 pounds – Lor couldn’t believe how convincing he was.
“When you see this race, you think yes [he can be one of the top sprinters here],” the trainer said. “I was a bit surprised [at how easy the win was], I think maybe the wet track helped.
“I hope [he can continue to improve], he had some back and knee injuries but at this moment, everything is OK. I just need to be careful looking after him. He’s only young, I still think there is more to come.
“He’s a little bit tricky, because he’s not very consistent – he will win one start and then nothing the next.
“If he’s in front, the last 50 to 100m he will slow down, so that’s why I think he’s better following other horses. He’s got a big sprint.
“Mr Stunning is very consistent, this one is not there yet. I need to make him more consistent.”
Big Party has now won five of his nine starts and with his rating to balloon well into triple figures, the next realistic target for him looks to be next month’s Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m), otherwise he will have to wait for a Class One at Happy Valley at the end of February.
“I need to talk to the owner first and see how the horse pulls up,” Lor said. “We’ve had two wins in 10 days now so we have to see if he can cope with another race in three weeks.”
Van Niekerk was aboard for Big Party’s first two wins last season and is impressed with the four-year-old’s development.
“He’s proven himself now. It was a question whether he was good enough to take on the big boys and he’s done it,” said Van Niekerk, who continued his good form after a treble on Thursday night.
“Obviously Group One level is a little bit difficult but he stamped his authority on the race. He gives you the feel of a horse who can compete at the top level.
“He feels a lot more mature now, he does have his niggles but Frankie has him feeling great at the moment.”
The win was the first of a double for Lor, who also took out the Class Two Chek Keng Handicap (1,650m) with Glorious Artist.
Hong Kong's champion jockey @zpurton has now ridden 3⃣ or more winners in a day five times this season thanks to Glorious Artist's win in Race 9.— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) December 29, 2019
Rich And Lucky (R1)
Clear Choice (R4)
Glorious Artist (R9) #HKracing pic.twitter.com/YHTJNrzDUa
Top jockey Zac Purton guided the five-year-old over the top of favourite Elusive State.
It completed a treble for the star Australian, who also tasted success with Rich And Lucky and Clear Choice and takes him to 47 winners for the season, just four behind current championship leader Moreira.