It was a big afternoon for Frankie Lor Fu-chuen at Sha Tin on Sunday, with the affable trainer landing a treble, snaring his 200th winner as a trainer and watching one of his best four-year-olds stake his claim for the Classic Series.
After taking out race seven with All For South, Lor completed his double century two races later when Celestial Power captured the Class Three Firecracker Vine Handicap (1,600m) before rounding out proceedings by winning the last with the impressive Healthy Happy.
“If you have a good team and the horses are healthy, it is good,” said Lor, adding that he reached 200 winners much quicker than he had expected when he begun his career in 2017-18.
“I just want to keep winning and trying my best. I’m looking to win the big races also, if you can win the big races, then me, the stable team and the owners are all happy.”
Celestial Power broke his Hong Kong maiden at start three, relishing the step-up to a mile after winning over 1,580m pre-import in Australia, but it was another four-year-old who had Lor most excited.
Also having his third Hong Kong outing, Healthy Happy notched his second victory and first in Class Two with a gutsy performance in the Bellflower Handicap (1,400m).
After racing just off the lead under Karis Teetan, Healthy Happy hit the front 300m out only to be headed by Band Of Brothers before fighting back to land the deciding blow and salute by a short-head.
Lor will now turn his attention to the four-year-old series with son of Zoustar, which begins with the Classic Mile on January 24.
“I think 1,600m is no problem for this horse, but the 1,800m [of the Classic Cup] and the 2,000m [of the Derby] may be a problem because he needs to learn how to relax,” Lor said, adding that he will consider running Healthy Happy over 1,400m again on January 10 before tackling the Mile.
Lor’s treble moved him to 27 winners for the season, just four behind the championship-leading Caspar Fownes.
After beginning his career like a freight train with 65 winners in each of his first two seasons, Lor could only manage 44 last term but has bounced back to his best swiftly in 2020-21.
“My first two seasons were really good and the horses’ ratings went up and they needed to drop down a little bit. And some horses were getting older so I needed to replace them with new blood,” Lor said.
Moreira makes amends
Joao Moreira bounced back from his longest drought of the season with a quick-fire double, booting home Francis Lui Kin-wai’s Fortune Master and All For South for Lor.
After two thirds and two seconds during the first half of the card – to go with his three seconds and a third at Happy Valley on Wednesday night – the Magic Man stopped his run of outs at 27 with a running double in races six and seven.
After racing to 51 winners from 28 meetings, Moreira entered Sunday’s card after missing out on consecutive race days for the first time this season, with Zac Purton narrowing the gap at the top of the jockeys’ premiership to 14 after it had ballooned out past 20.
One man happy to see Moreira return to his best was Lor, who had been patiently waiting for the Brazilian to become available to ride All For South.
“I had already put Joao on for a few trials but unfortunately he’s really busy and I still needed to race the horse, so I just put on other jockeys for a few races,” Lor said. “Then after his last run, Joao asked if he could get on this horse and Neil Callan was suspended, so I put Joao on.”
Having his fourth Hong Kong start, All For South lined up in the Class Three Dandelion Handicap (1,200m) on the all-weather track after consecutive fourths under Callan, with the most recent of those coming on the dirt.
Moreira went forward from gate 10 to sit outside leader Hongkong Great and All For South was too strong in the straight, finishing three-quarters of a length clear of Purton aboard the Paul O’Sullivan-trained Biz Power.
“He’s a big horse and he’s going well, I think he’s good on the turf and the dirt,” Lor said.
Purton’s runner-up finish aboard Biz Power was one of four seconds the Australian had to endure on the afternoon as Moreira stretched his lead back to 16.
After a huge week or so that saw Purton snare nine winners across three meetings as well as the International Jockeys’ Championship and the Group One Hong Kong Cup, the reigning champion jockey went winless on Sunday while also finding just one too good aboard Winning Steed, Kyrus Unicorn and Band Of Brothers.
Mo Rocks again
Dylan Mo Hin-tung returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in two and a half months as Demons Rock stunned his rivals in the Class Four Hibiscus Handicap (1,200m).
The 27-year-old, who had been in the news recently after missing two meetings when there was a Covid-19 positive in his building, was able to secure his first win since Sparking Dolphin on October 4 by lifting the David Hall-trained five-year-old home.
It was Demons Rock’s second win of the season and third of his Hong Kong career, the previous two coming in the cellar grade.
It is also Mo’s third winner of the term but interestingly, if you had put HK$10 on all of his 103 rides, you would come away with a profit of $29.
The smile says it all, GREY VITALITY is the first metro winner for Scarlet So after winning the Roadside Services / SABOIS Maiden Plate for Chris Bieg. @SAJockeyClub @TheRacesSA @ChrisBieg— Terry Hann (@terry_hann) December 18, 2020
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So salutes in the city
Hong Kong apprentice Scarlet So Ka-lai landed her first metropolitan winner in Adelaide on Friday, booting home the Chris Bieg-trained Grey Vitality at Morphettville.
The 24-year-old has ridden 37 winners since moving to Australia last year to do the compulsory overseas training the Jockey Club requires of all apprentice riders.
Another young Hongkonger in training Down Under is Peter Lui Siu-lun, who is plying his trade in Tasmania and has ridden 18 winners.