Francis Lui and Joao Moreira snare trebles to steal the show at Sha Tin
Francis Lui Kin-wai and Joao Moreira stole the show at Sha Tin on Saturday, snaring a treble each.
The Brazilian superstar dominated the first half of the programme, winning three of the first five races while the in-form trainer capped off his big day by notching his 60th winner of the season when Highly Proactive captured the feature, the Class Two Lai Pek Shan Handicap (1,200m).
The two stars combined just once, with Super Fast, who was utterly dominant leading all the way in the Class Four Sheung Yeung Shan Handicap (1,650m).
Lui is now just three wins away from matching the mark he set last season – the best campaign of his 25-year career – and says his philosophy is simple.
“I just try my best to win as much as I can,” he said matter-of-factly.
It was a really tough performance from Highly Proactive, who found under pressure to beat Shining Ace and All In Mind.
Jockey Jack Wong Ho-nam hunted him out of the gates and travelled outside the speed throughout and he looked to have run his race when he fell two lengths behind with 200m to go. But the five-year-old rallied, picking up again to secure his second win of the season.
“This horse, it all depends on how the race unfolds – if the race suits him, he can run well. I think 1,200m or 1,400m, it doesn’t matter,” Lui said.
“I thought he would run well, but it looked like he was going to get beat the last 100m but he came again and that surprised me.”
The win was just the third of Wong’s campaign and he was proud of the way Highly Proactive fought under pressure.
“The horse ran brilliant. He’s got a very good heart. He wasn’t travelling the best, but in the last 100m he picked up again,” Wong said.
“Personally, it means a lot. The trainer has provided great support to me, he’s been giving me horses with good chances and I really appreciate that. I’m just keeping my head down and keeping on working.”
Super Fast was another on-pace winner but never looked in trouble as he cruised home in the fourth event.
The five-year-old has taken some time to show his best after being imported from Ireland but everything fell into place for him.
“He’s in form now. He’s a northern hemisphere horse and he needed time to acclimatise. When he came to me he had a hairline fracture, so he just needed time,” Lui said.
“I hope he can go on with it from here. If you look at how he ran today, everything suited him – the track bias, Joao and the draw – but I think he can still improve.”
Lui’s other winner was Fox Cheunger (Vincent Ho Chak-yiu) in the Class Five Shouson Hill Handicap (1,400m).
Moreira moved to 149 winners for the season after also tasting success with the John Size-trained Blaze Warrior and Superbella, from the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen stable.
The former was very impressive making it two wins from two starts in the Class Four Sai Wan Shan Handicap (1,200m).
“As good as last time, if not better,” Moreira said of the three-year-old. “He does everything straightforward and everything he does makes me think he’s a good horse and the best part of it is that he’s in the making still.
“He can run further and the future of this horse is hard to predict but he’s going to reach a high rating.”
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