Frankie Lor Fu-chuen may again be behind in the trainers’ championship after title rival John Size registered a double at Sha Tin on Sunday but he will be hopeful of again closing the gap at Happy Valley on Wednesday.
Lor has five runners on the card and outnumbers Size, who is scheduled to have just three representatives, with Eason looking to be his stand-out chance in section one of the Class Three Bowrington Handicap (1,200m).
The three-year-old is yet to finish out of the first two in his five career runs, with the latest of his victories the most impressive when beating Stock Legend by two and a half lengths.
That victory also showed his versatility, with it being the first time that he has raced outside the first two, and his finishing effort suggests that playing a less prominent role early may bring about further improvement.
Raised nine points for that win, he’s approaching Class Two level and faces some rivals who appear mostly out of form, with his biggest danger likely to be the Size-trained Toronado Phantom.
That galloping grey has already won twice this season and finished a staying-on fourth to potential star Lucky Sweynesse from a bad draw last time.
Section two of the Bowrington Handicap features Lor’s consistent Be Ready, who has been working towards a win this season.
The six-year-old has won just one of his 23 starts in Hong Kong and on a mark of 78, he is floating near his highest-ever rating and is on the verge of a jump back to Class Two level despite not winning in 10 starts since March 2021.
That’s largely down to four runner-up finishes during that time, the latest of which came on his last start when he came close to springing a surprise at $29 when being beaten just a neck by Scotch Tycoon over this course and distance.
His biggest threats appear to be California Redwood, who finished second on his Hong Kong debut for Tony Cruz, and Seizing The Moment, who has not finished outside the top five in his nine starts in the city.
Lor will be hoping that Ares can reverse his slide down the ratings in section one of the Class Four Matheson Handicap (1,200m).
The five-year-old hit a rating of 65 when successful over this course and distance in October 2020 but has failed to reach the winner’s enclosure since and has dropped to a mark of 44.
It will take a brave punter to back him to return to winning ways and it would be a huge bonus to Lor’s title chances if this runner salutes.
Lor puts a saddle on Baebae Tsoi in the second section of the Matheson Handicap and expectations of a success will probably be on the low side.
The four-year-old showed signs of ability on his debut when third over 1,200m at Sha Tin but seems to have regressed from that run, with no finishes higher than sixth in his next five starts, and he finished last after a hard run on his latest start.
Lor’s final runner is Go For Tea in section two of the Class Four Morrison Hill Handicap (1,650m). He wouldn’t be the worst outsider to back on the card, with his fourth over the same course and distance three starts ago looking good in the context of this race.