Francis Lui Kin-wai has decided to spice things up with Lucky Patch, asking the five-year-old to tackle 1,000m for the first time in his career in Friday’s Group Three National Day Cup.
Lucky Patch, who did win over 1,050m in Australia pre-import, stretched out as far as 1,800m for last season’s Classic Cup and has won over 1,200m and 1,400m in Hong Kong, but Lui wasn’t deterred when considering whether to throw caution to the wind.
“After this run he will go back to 1,200m but between his 1,200m runs he would have needed a barrier trial so I decided to run him in this race instead,” Lui said of his galloper, who will be partnered by Jerry Chau Chun-lok.
“He’s got a good draw and while he looks like a 1,200m or maybe a 1,400m horse, you never know – he’s never run over 1,000m.”
Lucky Patch, who has drawn the favourable gate 14 for the straight-track scamper, finished second behind Naboo Attack at Class One level on opening day and Lui confirmed December’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) is the horse’s main target.
“Compared to last season I think this horse still has a little bit to improve,” the trainer said.
Lui takes a double-pronged attack into the feature and he expects five-furlong specialist Valiant Dream, who holds the 1,000m track record at Sha Tin, to show some cheek with just 113 pounds on his back from gate 10.
Four of Valiant Dream’s five career wins have come down the Sha Tin straight and the most recent of those was in Class Two, however he is eight points out of the handicap on a rating of 90.
“He’s an expert over 1,000m but it’s a step-up, however he has a light weight and good form. I think he can be competitive,” Lui said.
Dylan Mo Hin-tung takes the ride on Valiant Dream, one of six mounts for the 27-year-old as he chases his first victory of the season.
Another of Lui’s 2020-21 four-year-old crop returns to the races on Friday, with Sea Of Life lining up for the first time since May since bleeding after trackwork ahead of an intended run in June.
After Class Three victories at 1,200m and 1,400m and a close fifth over a mile in Class Two, Sea Of Life finished ninth in the Classic Cup – two and a quarter lengths ahead of Lucky Patch.
He closed out last season with two moderate showings and will resume under Vincent Ho Chak-yiu in the Class Two Beijing Handicap (1,400m), with Lui hopeful the son of Sebring can deliver in Class Two once he hits his straps.
“Sea Of Life is an honest horse but unfortunately last season he bled at trackwork. Hopefully he’s OK now, I expect he can win in Class Two with a light weight but it all depends on how he returns as to when he can do that,” Lui said.
Lui also saddles up Super Fast, Go Go Sixteen, Laputa, Cheerful Days and Winning For All.