Lor’s Looking Great

Racing continues at Sha Tin on New Year’s Day

Frankie Lor will consider a Gr3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) tilt for Looking Great at Happy Valley next month after the gelding’s breakthrough win at the city circuit on Wednesday night in the Class 2 Chek Keng Handicap (2200m).

Looking Great wins the Class 2 Chek Keng Handicap (2200m) (Pic – HKJC)

Given a textbook ride by Karis Teetan, Looking Great added to his four Sha Tin victories with a neck margin over Berlin Tango and Nearly Fine in what Lor hopes might be a dress rehearsal for the January Cup on 11 January.

“I’ll have a look at the programme first. Maybe I’ll have a think about the January Cup,” Lor said on regaining the lead in the 2022/23 Hong Kong trainers’ championship from Tony Cruz with 25 wins to 24.

“This was his first win at Happy Valley. He’s always better when he gets some cover and the last time, he had to race by himself.”

Teetan, who is rapidly re-establishing himself as a force in the riding ranks after overcoming illness, took luck out of the equation aboard Looking Great as he stalked the speed in third place on the rail before striking decisively.

“We had a sweet run tonight from the draw (barrier two). He had no weight (119lb) on his back, his trial before his race was good, so all credit to the trainer. We just had to sit and wait, but he ran a good race – he didn’t stop all the way through the line,” Teetan said.

“It was lovely. I want to say thanks to Frankie. He gave me a few horses when I came back, he rang me up and offered me a few horses – so thanks to his connections and owners.”

Lor closed the meeting in style with a double after Loyal Baby clinched the Class 3 Luk Wu Handicap (1650m) under Matthew Poon despite covering ground.

Teetan bagged a treble when Perfect To Great cut down Star Contact to win the second section of the Class 4 Tai Long Tsui Handicap (1650m) for Caspar Fownes before the Mauritian drove David Hayes-trained Lean Hero – a son of Maurice – along the fence to snare the first section of Class 4 Tai Long Tsui Handicap (1650m).

Making light of an almost three-month absence, Teetan has seven victories from the past three meetings.

In a season where Zac Purton dominates in virtually every category, Vincent Ho has quietly emerged as Happy Valley’s benchmark jockey after snaring a brace. Ho has ridden 23 winners this season at the course – four more than Purton (19).

Ho extended a bountiful campaign at Happy Valley with a double after Danny Shum’s G One Excellent surged late to land the Class 5 Wong Shek Handicap (1000m). Ho had earlier teamed with Francis Lui to deliver Forever Glorious as swooping victor in the Class 5 Wong Yi Chau Handicap (1800m).

Vincent Ho leads the Happy Valley standings this season (Pic – HKJC)

“I was unaware of that (Happy Valley statistic). I just try my best every time but I didn’t realise what the numbers were,” Ho said.

Lui’s stable has posted 22 wins this campaign – 12 of them in tandem with Ho.

Five-time champion Purton holds a gaping 40-win lead in the 2022/23 Hong Kong jockeys’ championship over Ho (30 wins) after the Australian notched his 70th victory of the term with a superb display on Jamie Richards-trained Rattan Kingdom in the second section of the Class 4 Pak Tam Chung Handicap (1200m).

Pierre Ng-trained veteran Hardly Swears provided Harry Bentley with his third winner in two meetings with victory in the first section of the Class 4 Pak Tam Chung Handicap (1200m) as the Englishman consolidated a Sha Tin double on 24 December.

Ng slotted a double when Humble Star was awarded the Class 3 Long Ke Handicap (1200m) after an objection from jockey Jerry Chau against Tony Cruz-trained California Cible, who was first past the post under Angus Chung.

Hong Kong racing continues at Sha Tin on New Year’s Day (Sunday, 1 January) with the running of the HK$3.9 million Gr3 Chinese Club Challenge Cup Handicap (1400m).

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