Labelled Group quality by his trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen during the week, Winning Dreamer lived up to the hype and then some with an impressive victory at Sha Tin on Wednesday.
After a dominant debut win, Winning Dreamer entered the Class Three Better Future Handicap (1,000m) under the weight of expectation and delivered a performance that only added to his handler’s confidence.
“He looks like a really good horse,” Lor said. “I hope he can at least reach Class Two next season and maybe he can run in some Group races later in the season.
“I can’t wait to see him improve in the off-season, this will be his last run this season. He’s still a baby but he learns quickly and I think we can run him over 1,200m later on. He always lays in a little bit so that’s why he needs to learn some things.”
While Winning Dreamer was able to roll across the field and assume the lead near the rail from gate four in his debut, the three-year-old didn’t have it all his own way from barrier three on this occasion.
After jumping only fairly as the $1.70 favourite, Vincent Ho Chak-yiu eased Winning Dreamer towards the stands but still found himself with a host of rivals between him and the outside rail.
“You could see a few horses went together but Vincent said Winning Dreamer improved by himself,” Lor said.
“He relaxed, he didn’t feel the need to pass the other ones – he just relaxed and ran with them no problem and in the last 400m when asked, he just went.”
After travelling on terms with Storm Warnings, War Of Courage and Metro Warrior in the run, Winning Dreamer wore down his opponents one by one to salute in 55.64 seconds, finishing a length and a quarter clear of Metro Warrior.
Winning Dreamer wasn’t Lor’s only cause for excitement on Wednesday, with fellow three-year-old True Legend notching his second win at start six.
Sent out as the $3.70 favourite, True Legend was taken straight to the front by Karis Teetan and was never headed in the Class Four Continuous Development Handicap (1,200m), with Lor confident the colt’s impressive first season is only the beginning.
“I always talk to the owner about gelding him, because he is too big – after gelding if he can concentrate more, he should be much, much better,” Lor said. “I think he can go a little bit further, maybe 1,400m.”
Both of Lor’s victorious gallopers are by emerging Australian stallion Deep Field, who is building an impressive early resume in Hong Kong that also includes winners All In Mind and Californiadeepshot.
“I hear the price of some Deep Fields are going up now,” Lor laughed.
After 65 winners in his first two seasons as a trainer, Lor sits on only 41 after his Wednesday double but he has assembled an impressive cast of youngsters he hopes can again elevate him to greater heights.
“I hope next season can be better. You can see the last two seasons I had 65 winners and then all the ratings went up. Early this season some of the young horses had problems and I needed to take it slowly,” said Lor, who has also saluted with first-season gallopers Armor Star, Chevalier Prince and Winning Brew in recent weeks.