Laying down the Lor in Hong Kong Classic Mile

4 min read

Written by Michael Cox.

Frankie Lor took Hong Kong racing by storm in his rookie season but has returned just as strong in season two and on Sunday saddles up five runners in the first of the 4-year-old series.

Two Australian-bred horses sit top of the markets when the 4-year-old series kicks off in Hong Kong on Sunday with the Hong Kong Classic Cup, and second-year training sensation Frankie Lor trains both of them.

Lor has an amazing five runners in the Classic Mile, all of them either Australian- or New Zealand-bred but two clearly stand out from the rest.

Frankie Lor

G1 Queensland Derby winner Dark Dream (All American) and G1 Rosehill Guineas-placed Furore (Pierro) were both purchased out of Australian 3-year-old races and have quickly acclimatised to Hong Kong conditions.

Outstanding season

There is little doubt that the two horses are in the right hands with Lor, who stunned the Hong Kong racing scene by finishing second to his mentor John Size last season and then won two of the four Group 1s at the Hong Kong International Races.

A BMW Hong Kong Derby in March would just about complete a perfect first 18 months in the trainers' stand for Lor, but first his prospects must progress through Sunday's Hong Kong Classic Mile and the Hong Kong Classic Cup on February 17.

After a solid debut on international day, Dark Dream was a dominant winner over 2000m on December 23 and Lor's only concerns are a drop back to a mile and barrier 12 of 14.

“His form is good, the only thing is he’s back to 1600 metres which may be a little bit short for him but we need to try.” – Frankie Lor

“His form is good, the only thing is he’s back to 1600 metres which may be a little bit short for him but we need to try,” he told the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “First start he was drawn gate 12 so I think we need to go to midfield with him, not too far back because there’s not too much pace in the race. I’ll talk to (Silvestre) de Sousa and see what we want to do."

Champion Australian jockey Hugh Bowman will fly in to ride Furore but he also got a feel for the import ahead of his third run for Lor on Sunday.

“He galloped the horse and he was in good form. He came good his last race and it’s been step by step so this time should be much better,” Lor said.

Kiwi-bred outside hope

Four of Lor's quintet are Australian-bred but the lone New Zealand-bred candidate of his group, Superich (NZ)(Red Giant {USA}) could spring an upset at a trip that should suit him more than some rivals.

Superich was a NZ$44,000 purchase from the Westbury Stud draft at the 2016 Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs by Upper Bloodstock, who have been inspecting yearlings this week at Karaka and will watch the race from Auckland.

Watch: Superich's breeze-up as a 2-year-old

“Last time the 1400 metres looked like it was a little bit short so I think 1600 should be suitable,” Lor said.

Heavenly Thought (So You Think {NZ}), runner-up to Dark Dream in the Queensland Derby, has been disappointing thus far but Lor seemed to think there was improvement in the offing.

“He looks better, I trialled him again and the jockey said he’s improved.” – Frankie Lor

“He looks better, I trialled him again and the jockey said he’s improved,” he said.

A mile looks a stretch for Mission Tycoon (Written Tycoon) but barrier one should help and, besides, it seems connections are just happy to be in the race with a horse that won minor races at Newcastle and Kembla Grange to qualify for Hong Kong.

“The owner wanted us to try. The 1600 should be ok for him,” Lor said.