Frankie Lor concedes a significant rise in the handicap ratings leaves Money Catcher with a difficult challenge when the gelding attempts to post consecutive wins in the HK$4.2 million Group 3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Money Catcher carried only 115lb last season in downing Beauty Joy (135lb) and Senor Toba (127lb) to claim the 2022 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse, but the six-year-old’s advance to a mark of 117 from 93 at the start of last season will see him shoulder 135lb this weekend.
Attempting to become the first galloper to secure consecutive Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse wins since Viva Macau, who triumphed under Darren Beadman in 2007 and the following year for Zac Purton, Money Catcher faces a formidable assignment, according to Lor.
“Last year, he carried 115 pounds. This year, he carries 135 pounds, so the difference is 20 pounds – which is quite a bit. But, anyway, he’s in good form. The only worry is the weight,” Lor said.
“Last season, we always had light weights and it was easier but this season, like this coming Sunday, he’s carrying a big weight so maybe it’s going to be a little bit different. But, anyway, he’s still in good form.”
Encountered (128lb), Senor Toba (128lb), Straight Arron (125lb), Running Glory (123lb), Tourbillon Diamond (119lb), Super Sunny Sing (118lb), Nimble Nimbus (115lb), Champion Dragon (115lb) and La City Blanche (115lb) complete the field.
To start from barrier three under Alexis Badel, Money Catcher will attempt to build on his fifth behind California Spangle when resuming in the Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy Handicap (1600m) on October 15.
“First-up, he ran well. It was only 1600 metres, but he ran well. It was a bit short for him, so 1800 metres or 2000 metres should be best for him,” Lor said.
Third in the 2022 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) behind Romantic Warrior and California Spangle, Money Catcher proceeded to his best season so far last term with a pair of Group 3 triumphs, the second in the Group 3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) at Happy Valley.
Money Catcher is among the entrants for the HK$36 million Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on December 10. The Ferlax gelding ran third in the elite contest last season behind Romantic Warrior and Japan’s Danon The Kid.
“In December, I think he’ll only carry 126 pounds, so we’ll will see,” Lor said.