Lor hopes weight trend favours Healthy Happy in Sunday’s G3 Lion Rock Trophy
May 28, 2021 at 12:36:26 PM
Lowly weighted runners have a notable record in the short history of the G3 Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (1600m), and trainer Frankie Lor is hoping Healthy Happy (114lb) has the form on the board to join that list when he attempts to capitalize on his featherweight impost in the HK$3.5 million contest this Sunday (30 May) at Sha Tin.
Since the race's inception in 2016, four of the five winners have carried 118lb or less, with only Ka Ying Star carrying more (129lb) in 2020 as the only five-year-old or older to win, while the other four renewals have been split evenly between three and four-year-olds near the bottom of the handicap.
“The low weight should be better, it should be lot simpler for him — the weight is somewhat different, so it's better for four-year-olds,” Lor said.
Healthy Happy, who finished fourth to Golden Sixty in the G1 FWD Champions Mile at the end of April, is one of two four-year-olds in the event, along with Sky Darci (114lb), who may carry 1lb more than his permissible weight.
“He raced good last start, but we need to race him since his rating is at 106, and we need to race him in Group races, so I'm trying again - I hope he comes near, but maybe next season as he grows older,” Lor said.
The Zoustar gelding is a three-time winner in Hong Kong, winning this year's HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), the second leg of the three-race Four-Year-Old Classic Series.
“His form is terrific - I think he's looking for 1400 to 1600 meters currently, I think those are his distances,” Lor remarked.
Under the management of Peter and Paul Snowden, the Australian import came in Hong Kong as a two-time winner from five starts Down Under as Leviathan.
This weekend, the kid will go from gate seven, accompanied by rider Alexis Badel.
“We'll see who leads - I think Ka Ying Star will, but if no one leads, we can take it up, but if someone leads, we can sit next to them - it may actually be easier for him since he is a large horse with a huge motion, he has to keep rolling,” Lor said.
The 106 rater finished third in a barrier trial over 1200m on dirt last Tuesday (18 May), clocking 1m 10.52s behind the top horse, C P Brave, who raced into a close-up third at Happy Valley last night (Wednesday, 26 May).
Ka Ying Star (133lb), More Than This (130lb), Champion's Way (121lb), Fastest Most Furious (115lb), and Not Usual Talent are also in the G3 on Sunday (113lb).
Rapper Dragon (2016), Booming Delight (2017), The Golden Age (2018), and Champion's Way are previous winners of the Lion Rock Trophy Handicap (2019).
Lor will be represented in each of the afternoon's 10 events, with 11 possibilities throughout the program, including Celestial Power, who Lor believes can measure up over 2000m in his maiden run over the distance in the Class 3 Piper's Hill Handicap.
“There aren't many ideal races for him, so we're attempting him in Class 3, and I don't mind him carrying a heavy weight since he's a huge muscular horse,” the 55-year-old said of the bay.
The Australian-bred son of Star Witness has won twice in Hong Kong, once over the mile at Sha Tin and once over the 1800m at Happy Valley.
“He has jumped a little bit sluggish in his recent starts, so maybe 2000 meters, I think if you're a little bit sluggish it's still ok,” he explained.
Blake Shinn is engaged against 13 challengers as the gelding steps away from gate 14.
Lor's G3-winning sprinter Big Party retired from Hong Kong earlier this week after five victories from 22 starts under Lor's care. He also finished second at G1 level in the 2021 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) behind Hot King Prawn.
“He's done a lot for me, but he's had too many back and knee issues, so I think it's better for him to retire and be sent back to Australia to enjoy his life,” Lor remarked.
Lor will also be represented by the lightly raced When You Believe (115lb) in this weekend's hot finale, the Class 2 Amah Rock Handicap (1200m), against a host of emerging talents such as Lucky Patch (133lb), Trillion Win (117lb), and the three-time winning Sight Success (116lb) from the all-powerful John Size barn.
The Class 5 Tsz Wan Shan Handicap kicks off the 10-race card on Sunday (30 May) at 12.45pm (1800m).