Derek Leung Ka-chun will team up with Money Catcher for the first time in almost a year in Sunday’s Group One Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m), taking the reins from the recently departed Silvestre de Sousa.
Money Catcher is perhaps the best ride left behind by De Sousa, who won two Group Threes aboard Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s galloper earlier this season before receiving his 10-month suspension for betting-related offences.
Money Catcher’s first regular pilot in Hong Kong, Leung steered the gelding to third placings in last season’s Classic Cup (1,800m) and Derby (2,000m).
“He’s ridden him quite a bit and while he hasn’t won on him, he was always close. It’s a good opportunity for Derek,” Lor said.
It was Romantic Warrior taking the prize in last season’s Derby and Danny Shum Chap-shing’s superstar is the headline act for the Champions & Chater Cup, the final Group One of the Hong Kong season.
“He’s kept his form nicely,” Lor said of Money Catcher, who finished fourth behind Romantic Warrior in April’s Group One QE II Cup (2,000m).
“We’re not sure about the 2,400m. He’s raced once at the distance [when eighth in the 2021
New Zealand Derby], but at that time, 2,400m wasn’t that good for him. I give him a chance of placing.”
Lor saddles up half a dozen runners at Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting, however – like quite a few fixtures recently – he goes in uncertain what to expect as he waits to see what the weather gods have in store.
“I don’t know if it’s going to keep raining or not, so it’s very difficult to weigh up my chances. It’s hard to say which are my best chances at this moment,” said Lor, who is hopeful Beauty Mission can finally break through on his 20th Hong Kong start in the second section of the Class Four Hyacinth Handicap (1,650m).
“In Class Three he was close and in Class Four he’s been close, but he still can’t win. I hope tomorrow night is his night.”
Meanwhile, Keith Yeung Ming-lun is expected to be fit to take his four rides at the midweek meeting despite yet another tumble during Tuesday morning’s trials.
Partnering Peter Ho Leung’s Dashing Triumph, Yeung – who only recently returned to the saddle following injuries he suffered in a race fall in March – hit the dirt following the finish of the third trial. However, he was cleared to ride in the final two hitouts.
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