Frankie Lor is shaking things up around Sha Tin. The second season handler landed his initial Group 1 last month and on Sunday the former jockey stamped his mark on the Four-Year-Old Classic Series with a first Hong Kong Classic Mile success.
Furore’s impressive victory in 1m 34.28s led a Lor charge that saw the handler seal second and fourth for good measure.
The Pierro gelding stormed the final 400m in 22.25s for a two and a half-length victory in the hands of Hugh Bowman. Success represented first blood on the road to the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 17 March.
“It felt every bit as good as it would have looked,” said Bowman, whose best previous finish in the race was a frustrating second aboard Werther three years ago.
“I’m delighted with him – this is not his trip. After performing like that over this distance today, that’s very exciting for the rest of his Derby preparation.”
But today’s success was not exactly expected. Furore, the 5.4 third-choice in the market, was not even the top pick among Lor’s five runners – a record number for a trainer in the race.
“I thought Dark Dream was my best chance but the only thing was the bad draw in 12 – you can see in the race he was wide and then he got bumped,” Lor said.
Dark Dream returned the 2.8 favourite but endured a difficult run to place fourth, two and three quarter lengths behind his stablemate.
“Furore’s form has improved each race,” Lor continued. “I thought he’d run well but winning is a little bit of a surprise because I thought Dark Dream was a little bit better. Sometimes it’s like this!”
Bowman backed that assessment. The Australian ace was on the ground a week ago, riding Furore for the first time in a morning gallop. The G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) third had raced with promise in two lead-up races under Derek Leung.
“I sat on him last week and certainly wouldn't have expected him to show that sort of turn-of-foot over this distance against this opposition,” Bowman said. “He worked like he’d run well at a mile but I had my doubts that he could win at this class at the mile.
“I thought, that being the case, I wanted to ride him a bit more conservatively than he was last start, just to get him a confidence-boosting run heading towards the Derby. He was here on a Derby pass and judging by how he performed this afternoon it puts him in very good stead for the 2000-metre course.” -HKJC