Frankie Lor heads the Hong Kong defence in the Class 1 Hong Kong Macau Trophy (1400m) at Sha Tin on Saturday (11 May) with three of the 14 runners, including Hong Kong Classic Cup hero Mission Tycoon (127lb).
The talented four-year-old drops down to 1400m following a below-par ninth behind Beauty Generation in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy over a mile last time.
“This race is 110 to 85 (rating), so it is a suitable race for him and I think this horse’s best distance is 1400m to 1600m,” Lor said.
Mission Tycoon sported blinkers in each of his first eight Hong Kong starts but has worn a visor in his last three races, including his Classic Cup score. Lor believes the horse still has some maturing to do and has reapplied the blinkers to sharpen him for the drop back in distance.
“I think he’s a good horse but maybe he still needs a bit more time,” he said, “but this race is suitable for him.”
Joao Moreira will ride Mission Tycoon and it will be a familiar seat for the Brazilian. The former champion guided the galloper to a breakthrough success at his second Hong Kong start last term.
Lor will also saddle five-time winning stablemate and the smart four-year-old Superich.
Karis Teetan is aboard Morethanlucky (127lb) who resumes from a two-month hiatus after finishing sixth at Sha Tin in a Class 1 over 1600m in early March.
“It looked like after his last run he got a little bit tired, so I just gave him a little break and we trialled twice with him and it looks like he is getting better,” the handler said.
Morethanlucky will break from gate 10 – one berth inside of Mission Tycoon – and Lor is expecting the natural on-pacer to race in a handy position.
“He has the early speed, so I will ask the jockey to try and sit second or third if he can, if not, midfield,” Lor said.
Superich (117lb) is drawn wider still in gate 12. Umberto Rispoli gets the ride as regular partner Zac Purton sides with the John Moore-trained Good Standing (124lb).
“Last time he jumped a little slowly, I think the 1400m to 1600m is his distance but he has the outside draw, so maybe I’ll ask the jockey to jump him and maybe sit midfield or at the back – he has a very strong finish,” Lor said.
Frankie Lor’s brother-in-law Peter Ho will be in town from Macau to ride The Alfonso (132lb) in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy (1400m).
Ho has seven rides on the day featuring three for Lor including Voyage Warrior (133lb) in race three, who the jockey won aboard on this day last year, as well as Super Missile (128lb) in race eight.
“I hope he can win one or two for me on Saturday,” Lor said.
Super Missile (128lb) has been off the scene since February of 2018 with Lor facing a number of problems in trying to get his galloper back to the track after winning two from four in his debut campaign.
“Last season he had little problems, he always had a fever and then at the middle of the season I tried to push him and unfortunately he had an accident where he had some cuts on his right hind leg,” the trainer said.
“He has ability but I don’t want to push him too hard,” he added.
The Moore stable has reaped plenty of success in the Hong Kong Macau Trophy since its inception in 2004, winning the race five times and on Saturday Encouraging (125lb) and Good Standing (124lb) will fly the flag.
Purton takes the reins aboard Good Standing (124lb) and the gelding lines up in the Interport race following a last-start second behind the unbeaten Champion’s Way.
“He has top form, unfortunately he ran into one better so we’re going to the race full of hope that from a good gate he can again lay up and this time convert to gold,” Moore said.
The five-year-old has won only once in Hong Kong since arriving from Australia; that was at Sha Tin over 1600m and the gelding also holds three runner-up efforts over 1400m.
“I think 1400m to a mile is right up his alley, even though in Australia he was tried over further but I’ve really kept him to 1400m and a mile,” Moore added.
The second of Moore’s pair is Encouraging who earlier this season notched up a hat-trick of wins. This time the galloper will break from stall seven under Vincent Ho.
“James McDonald got held up and he came in (last time) and said ‘I would have been right in the finish had I seen daylight on Encouraging’, so both of them go into the race from reasonable gates with live chances of winning us another Hong Kong Macau Trophy,”
Macau runners make up five of the 14 with the Peter Ho-ridden The Alfonso (132lb), Mister Kaopu (131lb), Pearl Green (122lb), Wichita Linesman (113lb) and Duke Da Vega (113lb).
The Alfonso is no stranger to Sha Tin: the rising eight-year-old has raced at the track on three occasions, coming closest to success in 2016 when beaten only a neck to finish second.
“The horse is ok, everything is very good. He’s still happy and I’m happy with him,” Ho said.
Macau G1 winner Pearl Green is in good heart according to jockey Oscar Chavez.
“He pulled up good and he felt very fresh, I let him go the last 400 metres and he went about 28.30 (seconds). He felt good, he feels fresh,” the rider said after morning trackwork.
K C Tse the trainer of Duke Da Vega said: “He’s travelled ok, the last couple of days he’s eaten up the feed very well and he looks happy.
“His performance was good on the sand, but he raced in Australia on the turf, so maybe he has a chance.”
Saturday’s action at Sha Tin will commence at 1pm (3pm AEST).
– News from Hong Kong Jockey Club