Horse Racing
Lor scores first treble at Sha Tin’s all-dirt meeting

By Andrew Hawkins
02/11/2017 00:11

Frankie Lor continued the dream start to his Hong Kong training career with his first treble at Sha Tin on Wednesday night (1 November).

Lor saddled four runners on the all-dirt card and left with three winners. He combined with Karis Teetan to take the Class 5 Tsim Mei Fung Handicap (1200m) with Foxbat and the Class 4 Tiu Yue Yung Handicap (1650m) with Imperial Concorde, while Joao Moreira-ridden Diamond Friends was the middle pin of the treble in the Class 5 Wa Mei Shan Handicap (1650m).

Frankie Lor celebrates his first Hong Kong treble after winning with Foxbat, Diamond Friends and Imperial Concorde.

The three-timer took Lor to 18 wins for the season, six clear in the trainers’ championship.

“I never expected I could win so many races in such a short time, I am very happy,” Lor said. “Some horses have improved this season for one reason or another, but other horses were on the right mark and ready to win when they came to me, and I have just been lucky enough to get them now.”

Foxbat was heavily supported at his first run for Lor in mid-September, but he ran last, prompting the trainer to go back to the drawing board.

“He had trialled well going into the last run, but I was disappointed,” he said. “I trialled him again and he’d gone really well on the dirt, so I decided to give him his chance on the surface. I also took the blinkers off and put the pacifiers on. He was a little laidback through the race but he does really like the dirt and that showed.”

Imperial Concorde had just failed to reel in Spicy Kaka at his first run for Lor, but when the seven-year-old drew wide for Wednesday’s race, the trainer was confident he could go one better.

“Most trainers want a good gate, but when this horse drew gate 13, I wasn’t too worried,” he said. “Last time, he drew a low gate and he had to weave his way through a little bit, he just missed. This time, I knew that he would go back from the gate and that he would have an uninterrupted run, and I think that made the difference.”

Imperial Concorde takes the Class 5 Tiu Yue Yung Handicap (1650m) for Frankie Lor and Karis Teetan.

Diamond Friends (127lb) was sent out a 2.1 favourite, but had to dig deep under Moreira to topple Winningli (109lb) and Dylan Mo by a short head. Great Toplight (125lb) was five and a quarter lengths back in third.

“I was a bit nervous in the straight because the other horse had an easy lead with a light weight and had raced away on the turn,” Lor said. “But that was a tough effort. He’s a bit of a tricky horse, so while I hope he stays in Class 5, I will still keep a senior jockey on.”

Moreira later made it a double aboard Red Marvel, for Lor’s former boss John Size, in the Class 3 Shek Uk Shan Handicap (1650m).

Size had earlier prepared Giddy Giddy to win his third race over 1200m on the Sha Tin dirt, taking the second section of the Class 4 Tin Ha Shan Handicap, while the roan gelding represented the first leg of a brace for apprentice Jack Wong.

Wong partnered Chris So’s Mythical Emperor to a pace-setting victory in the Class 3 Pyramid Hill Handicap (1200m)

“He’d always trialled well on the surface, winning by big margins, so I thought this would be the time to try him on the surface,” So said. “He will be in Class 2 now so it might be difficult for him but if he can get an easy lead with a light weight, maybe he could win again.”

So reigns at Sha Tin with Emperor double

The night’s last race also went to So, with Classic Emperor producing the performance of the night to win the Class 2 Hebe Hill Handicap (1650m) by a widening six and three quarter lengths.

By accomplished dirt sire Medaglia d’Oro out of a stakes-placed Malibu Moon mare, Classic Emperor has one of the more distinguished dirt pedigrees in Hong Kong but it wasn’t until start 26 that he made his debut on the surface.

“He was racing well on turf and races for his rating on the dirt are rare, so it just didn’t happen before now,” So said. “It’s a handy alternative to have now, even if the race set up perfectly for him with Tony Cruz’s horse (King Genki) setting that strong tempo. The owner really wanted to run in this race and it all panned out.”

Chris So-trained Classic Emperor raced clear for a big success under Keith Yeung in the Class 2 Hebe Hill Handicap (1650m).

Another to impress was Danny Shum-trained debutant Pick Number One. The three-year-old tipped the scales at 1213 pounds pre-race, but the Darci Brahma gelding had a motor to match his bulky frame, winning the first section of the Class 4 Tin Ha Shan Handicap (1200m) by a comfortable length and a half.

“He’d showed in his second trial that he had ability, he went head to head with one of John Size’s horses (Conte) and they both recorded good times,” he said. “He’s big but he’s a gentleman, very easy to train, and I think he’s still got a lot of improvement in him. On pedigree, he should be a miler in time, so there’s a bit to look forward to.”

Racing returns to Sha Tin on Sunday (5 November) for Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse day, with Hong Kong’s oldest race, the G3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m), the feature.