Frankie Lor continued the dream start to his Hong Kong training career with his first treble at Sha Tin on Wednesday night.
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).
Imperial Concorde takes the Class 5 Tiu Yue Yung Handicap (1650m) for Frankie Lor and Karis Teetan
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.”
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.”