A double at Sha Tin on Sunday saw Frankie Lor Fu-chuen pull five wins clear of his former boss John Size in the race for the trainers’ championship.
The title is Lor’s to lose with only nine meetings left of the 2021-22 season, however the trainer is not yet allowing himself the chance to dream of a first crown.
“I’m always trying hard to get the title,” Lor said. “My old boss is a really top trainer and I’ll have to keep trying really hard.”
Lor was winless until late on the Sha Tin card but his first victory of the afternoon was worth the wait, with All For St Paul’s picking up the most valuable race of the day in the Class Two Mount Cameron Handicap (1,600m).
The victory could prove crucial in the title race, with Lor’s runner fighting off the strong challenge of the Size-trained Bourbonaire after a terrific battle up the home straight to win by a short-head.
All for St Paul’s had shown signs of a return to form last start and the galloper was given a fine ride by Matthew Chadwick, who sat just behind the eventual runner-up before striking in the final 100m.
“He’s a front-runner normally and going up to Class Two in a small field with a light weight, I thought we might lead,” Lor said.
“But I said to the jockey that if that somebody else leads, we can sit second and the jockey did everything right. The time was quite slow and he was brave in the finish.”
Warm favourite Galaxy Witness, who was sent off at $1.4 as he attempted to extend his unbeaten streak to five, held every chance turning for home and came alongside the front two halfway up the straight but faded to finish a distant third on his first attempt at 1,600m.
The two premiership leaders teamed up later at the meeting when Lor’s Keefy broke through for the first time in Hong Kong under Joao Moreira.
From a difficult draw in stall 14, Moreira managed to get a good position in midfield on the improving three-year-old, who showed a decent turn of foot to kick clear of his rivals in the straight and win by an easy two and a quarter lengths over another Size runner in Escape Route.
Lor was delighted with the performance of his youngster and has some lofty ambitions for him next season.
Ho lands rare Griffin winner on a good day for under-fire trainers at Sha Tin
“He did a good job,” Lor said. “First start this season over 1,200m he finished fourth, last start he was second and this time he wins.
“I was very worried about the draw in stall 14 but Joao was on board and he handled it really well for me.
“I think there is still more improvement. He’ll go up to Class Two now and he’s only a three-year-old so I hope next season to see him in the four-year-old series.”
The Magic Man remains five clear of his main rival in the jockeys’ championship with the Brazilian and Zac Purton both riding just one winner on the card.