Francis Lui set an ominous milestone ahead of the upcoming Golden Sixty return on Sunday with a Happy Valley double, crowned by Sunny Stars’ spectacular class 2 victory in The Japan Racing Association Trophy (1650m) on Wednesday (November 17th) .
Lui, who will saddle the Golden Sixty in the BOCHK Private wealth The Jockey Club Mile (1600 m) in Sha Tin this weekend took training honors at today’s meeting after Party Warrior had preceded Sunny Star’s driving victory.
Sunny Star recently drove through the field under Alexis Badel and gave the French a brace with 17 wins and an absolute third place in the Jockey Championship, while Lui improved his record to 13 wins.
âIt was a fantastic performance by the horse. I know he has good skills, especially if you can get him to relax. If you can do that, it can have a very quick final section, âsaid Badel. âI was lucky to be on time, he has a very good heart.
âWhen you have momentum with him, it’s easy with him. Happy Valley is always very good for him. In the end he can relax and sprint very well. “
Lui said: âVery happy. He got a bad draw (barrier 8 of 11) and the jockey was very patient with him and gave him a chance. He is an honest horse and can still improve. “
Badel also believes that Danny Shum’s Regency Star, winner of the first section of the Kyoto Handicap Class 4 (1200m), has a bright future after the Nicconi gelding’s lean victory over Spicy Grill and Happily Friends.
âIt was a good performance. He’s been unlucky with bad draws and Happy Valley can be difficult when you draw outside, âsaid the Frenchman. âToday he had a good goal (barrier five), he jumped well, but he is still a little baby. He did everything right this time and there are some positives.
Zac Purton caught up with Badel’s double, but was denied even more success when Douglas Whyte’s astrologer caused a big boilover – starting at 133/1 – by dwarfing stable mate and favorite Harmony Fire to get the grade 3 Kokura handicap (1000 m) to win for Keith Yeung.
“I guess it’s that time of year, Christmas is just around the corner,” Whyte said. âHe ran last week (ninth) with a bit of appreciation and Keith jumped off saying he made him feel good. He has secured himself and hits the line really well.
âHarmony Fire deserved to win tonight. Zac drove it perfectly. When he went home it looked like he was going to win easily, but the weight difference said and played into the hands of my other horse. “
Formerly trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, Astrologer was G3 placed in Australia before exporting to Hong Kong.
Manfred Man praised Purton for the upcoming rise in Compassion Spirit’s grade after the Supreme Class gelding hauled 133 pounds to catch the second section of the Kyoto Handicap of Class 4 (1200m).
“It was the perfect ride,” said Man of Purton’s effort to take inside runs to break through by half a length. âZac did a great job. The horse is now in class 3, so we’ll see what happens. “
Lui’s Party Warrior was the second stage of Purton’s double and won class 4 (1200 m) in the third section of the Kyoto Handicap. Contributer’s son had finished second in his first three starts, but Luis’s persistence was rewarded with a calculated ride from Purton.
Purton now leads the Jockeys Championship with 34 wins against 27 for Joao Moreira. The Brazilian beat California Cible – another former Snowden stable trainer – in class 3 Nakayama Handicap (1200 m) for Tony Cruz.
“It was a good win, he’s a nice horse,” said Cruz. âHe had a smooth run for Joao and that makes all the difference at Happy Valley. I think I’ll keep him here because he seems to like Happy Valley. “
The win catapulted Cruz to second place in the coaching standings with 15 wins behind Frankie Lor with 18.
Lor’s stellar start to the campaign continued with the formidable Fa Fa taking his fifth win of six starts over the Happy Valley 1650m trip – all under Vincent Ho – and the DBS x Manulife lead with 45 points Million Challenge took over 12 over visual success (33).
Lor said the four-year classic series remains a possibility for Fa Fa, a son of He’s Remarkable.
“It was a good win, but I still think about the Four-Year-Old Classic Series,” said Lor. “It depends on how many points he rises in the ranking.”
Fa Fa victory put Exceptional Nice to his sixth, second place overall and fifth place in a row without yet winning.
The decision of Caspar Fownes, Fast Pace after the gelding’s third place in Sha Tin on Saturday (13.
âHe’s a tough horse and ran very well over the weekend as it was Saturday through Wednesday. I thought this race looked pretty good for him. Most importantly, the seven pound claim helped Alfred ride tonight, âsaid Fownes.
Michael Chang was relieved One Step Ahead finally won the class 5 Fukushima Handicap (1200m) under Matthew Chadwick on his 25th start.
âHis rating had dropped significantly, this horse is alive and well. It was a very poor race and the pace was good today, it had the right gate (barrier 3) and only carried 114lb. “
The Hong Kong race continues in Sha Tin on Sunday (November 21) with the Bank of China Race Day with a G2 triple header and the return of Golden Sixty.
Press release from the Hong Kong Jockey Club