Frankie Lor breathed new life into the trainers’ championship with a double at Sha Tin on Sunday afternoon as Sauvestre overhauled red-hot favourite Flaming Rabbit.
Trimming John Size’s lead from eight to six (68-62), Lor – reigning Hong Kong Champion Trainer (2021/22) – has steadily crept into serious contention after the season’s ninth-last fixture with seven wins this month compared to his former mentor Size’s three.
On a day when Zac Purton persevered towards Joao Moreira’s record of 170 wins in a single Hong Kong season with a sparkling four-timer to reach 155 wins, the Lor-trained Sauvestre lifted under Luke Ferraris to deny Flaming Rabbit in the programme’s feature.
“It was tough, he was obviously coming up against a nice horse (Flaming Rabbit) but they put up a good fight. He dug deep and he’s come on from his first run – it’s worked out well and all credit to Frankie and his team for having him in superb condition,” Ferraris said.
Returning from several setbacks, the Hinchinbrook gelding has been prudently managed by Lor across five starts this season for two seconds and today’s win.
“Last start he came back from six months and he wasn’t too bad. This time he improved a little bit, I think the draw (barrier two) helped him,” Lor said.
Sealing consecutive doubles, Ferraris maintained a purple patch of his own with his ninth win since the start of May, enhancing his overall tally to 31 wins this term.
“It’s been going good. The support’s been really lovely from the trainers, it seems to have picked up again and I’m really enjoying it,” Ferraris said.
Looking Cool kicked off Lor’s double. Ridden by Karis Teetan, the Redwood gelding prevailed under a clever rail-skimming ride.
Ferraris started his duo with victory aboard Aca Power, the middle success of David Hall’s treble which comes in addition to the trainer’s three victories on Wednesday night (June 14) at Happy Valley.
Hall’s first win came as Purton also commenced his four-timer aboard the impressive Ka Ying Victory in the opening race.
“Since he’s been gelded, he’s been a completely different horse. We’ve been much happier with him and obviously he took everything in his stride today – he did a good job,” Purton said.
The Charm Spirit two-year-old reared in the starting gates in April, only to be withdrawn from his initially planned debut. He was since gelded and returned today after one trial.
Purton later made it a double as Packing Bole sauntered to the easiest of debut wins. Danny Shum declared the Deep Field gelding a “nice horse” following the performance.
All but officially crowned Hong Kong Champion Jockey for the sixth time, Purton moved to 154 wins this season as Benno Yung’s dirt specialist Gummy Gummy saluted by a comfortable one length.
Purton iced his four-timer and Hall’s second treble in as many meetings with the faultless success of Flying Ace. It was the swiftly developing Swiss Ace five-year-old’s fifth success at only his eighth start.
Yellowfin broke through for his first win at his 13th outing in Hong Kong under Lyle Hewitson. The win was Hewitson’s sixth since the start of June and 46th overall this term.
“This horse deserved it, he was just a horse who had always been knocking on the door. He had his few issues and last run when he was first-up he knocked up over the last 50 metres and today, I thought his work had improved coming into the race, he stripped fitter and he maybe won too far,” Hewitson said.
Michael Dee returned the third win of his short-term stint and first at Sha Tin as the Dennis Yip-trained Young Brilliant tenaciously staved off a tenacious Swan Bay.
“I didn’t want a stride further! It was a good tough effort and I’m very glad to get the win, Dee said.
Michael Chang is now one win away (in Class 4 or above) from reaching the Club’s performance requirements for trainers after Commanding Missile toughed it out for breakthrough success under Jerry Chau.
“I’ve ridden him a few times, he’s a very smart horse. Sometimes he jumps slowly and when he does that he doesn’t want to try. Luckily, he jumped well today and I put him in front and he felt confident in the straight.
“I’m very lucky to get a winner for the owner and especially Mr Chang,” Chau said.
Keith Yeung closed out the fixture with consecutive wins aboard Find My Love for Manfred Man. The 35-year-old has faced a string of injuries this term but returned elated after the Frankel gelding’s second triumph in as many starts.
“I have been good friends with the owner for a long time, like 10 years, so it’s awesome to win – not just once, but twice. I said in an interview earlier, when I trialled him on the dirt over 1200 metres he gave me a really good feeling,” Yeung said.