Horse Racing
Lucky More shoots for revenge over Duke Wai

By Declan Schuster
20/12/2019 18:34

Lucky More cruises to an easy second-up victory.
Lucky More cruises to an easy second-up victory.

Lucky More (122lb) is out for revenge in Saturday’s Class 3 Long Valley Handicap (1000m) when he will again face off against Duke Wai (128lb), the horse who rattled late to mug him of a debut victory early last month.

Danny Shum’s charge has since put his first-up woes behind him. Four weeks ago, the three-year-old lived up to his reputation with a comfortable four-and-a-quarter length win under Zac Purton and the champion jockey is taking nothing for granted as he heads into the rematch with Duke Wai.

“He beat me fair and square, there was no fluke about his win and he gave me a big start and it sort of defied belief really to come from where he did to be able to win,” Purton said.

“If Duke Wai gets out of the gates a little bit better and is within striking distance he’s definitely the one to beat again.”
Duke Wai has also won since and finds himself 2lb better off from that first meeting, with Lucky More coming in off a 14-point rise in the ratings.

“Lucky More took a lot of improvement out of his first-up run – he really got driven mad in that race and I suppose it cleaned his wind out nice and proper because the next start he was able to go through his gears a bit more comfortably and get the job done – it was a nice effort,” Purton said.

The More Than Ready colt wasn’t pressure free on debut as a 1.5 favourite, racing alongside Flying Genius for most of the straight before beating him off for sixth, only to be bloused late by Duke Wai. That form received another boost on Wednesday when Flying Genius bagged his second win in a row.

Lucky More breaking clear down the Sha Tin 1000m.

“I think he’s shown he has the ability to handle Class 3, it’ll just depend on how much pressure is in the race and what type of run we get,” Purton said.

Purton has eight mounts on Saturday’s card, including the lightly-raced Computer Patch (128lb) in the Class 3 Pearce Memorial Challenge Cup Handicap (1200m) who posted an eye-catching runner-up effort on debut behind the runaway Quadruple Double.
“It was a very impressive run, he drew a bad gate and he had to go back but he really got to the line strong,” the Australian ace said.

“The only thing to worry about is the quick back-up but I rode the horse in a piece of work this morning and he feels very bright, he’s nice and fresh so hopefully he can repeat that performance.”

The John Moore-trained galloper spent the first part of his career in Australia where he was trained by Ron Quinton. A maiden winner there, the Exceed And Excel rig then finished fifth at G2 level behind Microphone in the Skyline Stakes at Randwick.

“Since his arrival everything has gone to plan in the sense that his last performance was strong,” Moore said. “Zac (Purton) cantered him around this morning and said he felt very fresh and he didn’t think he took any harm from that run, Romain (Clavreul) who rides for me gave me the exact same feedback.”

Chefano closes for second last time

Moore also saddles Chefano in the Class 2 Beas River Handicap (2000m), against a classy field that includes the likes of the exciting David Hall-trained High Rev (113lb), Not Usual Talent (125lb), Tianchi Monster (120lb) and Glorious Dragon (114lb).

“He’s done everything right, he’s a horse who needs ground but there are not a lot of opportunities,” Moore said.

Tomorrow, with Joao (Moreira) on board and the way he trialled, I’d be thinking that he’s got to be close.”

The South African-bred galloper joined Moore at the start of the season and has tallied three runner-up efforts since then.

“He’s been gelded, everything is healthy and happy with him and I think the distance is exactly what he wants, although he will go further than 2000 (metres) in future.”

Whyte’s Inner Flame

Douglas Whyte prepares five for Saturday’s Sha Tin meeting.
Douglas Whyte prepares five for Saturday’s Sha Tin meeting.

Hong Kong’s newest trainer Douglas Whyte has hit the ground running with 12 wins from 111 starts and the South African is running hot ahead of Saturday’s (21 December) Sha Tin race meeting.

He prepares five on the day, including Inner Flame (128lb) who steps out on debut in the Class 4 Ho Sheung Heung Handicap (1200m).

The 13-time champion jockey has surprised no one in starting well as a trainer, competing with the same elite professionalism he showed when he was in the saddle.

Whyte is taking advantage of being able to ride out in the mornings and is excited with the young crop of horses currently in his stable.

“From the time they step into the yard, I’ve been on them in the mornings and seen how they’ve incrementally improved with every trial and with every piece of work you’ve thrown at them – it’s quite exciting,” Whyte said.

The South African has been impressed with Inner Flame’s manner.

“His preparation has been good, he’s come a long way and he’s done everything I have asked of him so far – so it’s time for him to get to the races now,” Whyte said.

That preparation ahead of his debut has included four trials, the latest at Happy Valley, with Whyte suggesting that either track was an option in terms of where the Zoustar gelding would make his debut.

“He just indicates to me that he’s ready to go the races, the Happy Valley trial was purely to gain a bit of experience and a trip away to get his mind to think differently,” he said.

Inner Flame grabbing third in a trial at Happy Valley.

“But there was no reason behind which track I decided, it was more about him being ready and his condition telling me he was ready to go to the races.”

Whyte produced a debutant to win last Sunday (15 December) as Will Power scored impressively on the dirt under Karis Teetan. But the handler is under no illusion about the difficulty of winning first-up.

“He’s as forward as one would expect him to be – I think whatever he does tomorrow he will be improving off,” he said.

“He’s a handful to ride in the mornings, he was a handful but once gets on the track and starts to do his work he’s very willing.”

Saturday’s 10-race card at Sha Tin commences at 12.15pm with the Class 5 Jockey Club Road Handicap (1600m).