Hong Kong Diary

Hong Kong racing is in the headlines after a thrilling Derby weekend and the action continues this Wednesday with an eight-race card at Happy Valley covered live on Sky Sports Racing.

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Frankie laying down the Lor as Derby dream comes true

Sunday’s BMW Hong Kong Derby was billed as master versus apprentice and the pupil prevailed as Frankie Lor’s Furore proved too strong for John Size’s hot favourite Waikuku under Joao Moreira.

Size joked in advance that he had perhaps taught Lor a little too well and the evidence is stacking up to suggest the Hong Kong system has produced its brightest training talent for many a year.

And the Lor story is a cracker. The son of a stable lad, he was brought up in the 1970s when HK had just one racetrack and horses made the steep walk down Shan Kwong Road each morning to exercise on the track at Happy Valley.

Lengthy spells assisting Size and fellow great John Moore gave him the sort of training education money can’t buy but he is making the very most of it with three G1s under his belt this season and a combined prize money total of ten million quid and counting.

Beauty mending fences for subdued Moreira

Moreira has suffered some short-priced reverses of late and misses Wednesday’s Valley meeting due to another suspension but the Brazilian made no mistake on the Size-trained Full of Beauty, who stretched his unbeaten run to five and clocked the fastest time of four 1200m races with another smooth Sunday success.

Never one to hype his horses, Size touched on the five in a row angle by saying “it’s hard to build a picket fence in Hong Kong.”

It’s harder still to complete a six timer but Full of Beauty doesn’t seem to do a lot more than necessary in front and could still be ahead of the game despite another 8lb rise for his latest success.

Dan can be the man again after impressive HK debut

British and Irish imports showed up strongly on Sunday's Sha Tin card both in the Derby and on a strong supporting card.

Waikuku lost nothing in defeat by chasing home Furore from well back but the way he raced lazily in mid-race was puzzling and it wouldn't be surprising to see him tried in headgear at some point.

Sunny Speed - formerly Crack On Crack On for Clive Cox - excelled to finish third in the Derby at 86-1 and is clearly getting the hang of racing in HK.

Former Glorious Goodwood winner Good Omen blossomed back over 2000m to win under Zac Purton, while Dan Control made a very bright start to his HK career under the champion with a fluent success in a Class 3 contest over 1200m.

Formerly known as Bruce Wayne when with Michael O'Callaghan, Dan Control travelled powerfully and settled matters quickly once asked to assert. He seems a flighty sort and had to be ponied to the start but his potential is clear to see under John Moore's tutelage.

Dragon can fire in battle of front runners

Wednesday’s main event at Happy Valley – namely the Happy Valley Vase at 12.15 – carries a strong Euro flavor with five of the eight runners imported from Ireland, England and France.

Circuit Glory looks one of the stronger options, but this looks a 7-2 the field race whichever way you shake it down and there could be more value to be found in a couple of horses later on.

The draw is the obvious starting point in the Ireland Trophy at 1.45 as those drawn 1-6 over 1000m on the Valley’s C track tend to finish placed twice as often as those drawn 7-12.

Racing’s draw gods have certainly smiled on the freewheeling Dragon Pioneer of late, as Manfred Man’s gelding has drawn the inside gate for the third race in a row.

A bold effort looks assured as a result, but the equally speedy Dragon Pioneer finished ahead of E-Super when chasing home the useful Little Bird here last month and looks the value call to do so again from stall 4 in a race where most of the field look hard to fancy.

A high draw can be equally problematic over 1650m at the Valley and the strong form claims of Harmony Hero in the Holly Handicap at 2.50 have to be set against the worrying fact that horses drawn 12 over this trip have a measly win and place rate of five and 14 per cent.

The wide gate clearly poses problems for Neil Callan, but Umberto Rispoli is better berthed in stall 7 aboard Big Bang Bong, who has dropped to a good mark and looks a live each way player after catching the eye travelling strongly for a long way on his latest start here recently.


Hong Kong Diary
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