After clawing his way back to the top of the trainers’ championship in recent weeks and firing in a big-priced double at Sha Tin on Sunday, the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen bandwagon rolls into Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
Wins for four-year-old series contender Sword Point and Sakewin at the weekend pushed Lor to 28 winners for the season as he chases back-to-back premierships, an achievement only the great John Size has managed since 2000, and he is mob-handed in the Valley’s only Group race of the season.
Lor puts a saddle on a quarter of the field in the Group Three January Cup (1,800m), with his three runners including Money Catcher, who comes into the race off the back of probably a career-best effort when third in the Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) behind Romantic Warrior – the joint highest-rated horse in the city – and Japanese raider Danon The Kid.
It’s fair to say that effort was a surprise to his trainer but he is hopeful of another big run from the horse he nominates as having the best chance of his contenders.
🏆Hong Kong Cup (G1)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) December 11, 2022
2000 m, 34.000.000 HKD
Romantic Warrior (IRE)
(4G Acclamation - Folk Melody, by Street Cry)
J : James McDonald
T :C.-S. Shum
O : Peter Lau Pak Fai
B :Corduff Stud & T J Rooney
🥈Danon The Kid (Just a Way)
🥉 Money Catcher
🌍#HorseRacing 🏇🏾 pic.twitter.com/xqHnIKy2Rl
“The Hong Kong Cup surprised me a little bit but it was a great run,” Lor said. “He’s only won once but he’s very consistent.
“I hope he can win and maybe Silvestre de Sousa can lift him again. I think my best chance should be Money Catcher because his form is very good and he is always consistent.”
Money Catcher’s sole win came at Sha Tin and he has raced just twice at the Valley in his 15-race Hong Kong career, finishing third and second in a couple of Class Two contests, but Lor is not concerned about the change of track.
“He runs well at the Valley and I’m sure he will handle the track,” he said.
Although Lor expects Money Catcher to perform best of his three runners, Looking Great also arrives in top form after winning the Class Two Chek Keng Handicap (2,200m) at Happy Valley a fortnight ago and the trainer does not think the drop in trip will inconvenience the six-year-old too much.
“Early in the season he won at 1,600m so he should be OK stepping back to 1,800m,” Lor said.
Celestial Power is Lor’s final representative and the son of Star Witness has not been quite at his best of late, finishing no better than fourth in his past three starts, but his trainer does not rule out a better run under his optimum conditions.
“In the mornings his form is good and 1,800m looks to be the best distance for him,” Lor said.
Away from the big race, Lor’s best chances look to be We The South in the Class Two Cannon Handicap (1,000m) and Savvy Chic in the Class Three Causeway Handicap (1,200m).
We The South has struggled to get to the front early this season but looks poised for a big run, while Savvy Chic was beaten just half a length in his previous start last month by King Eccellente, who has since won again.