Excellent Peers has registered four wins and three seconds in his seven starts since joining Frankie Lor Fu-chuen from Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, but the modest trainer refuses to attribute the horse’s improved results to doing anything his contemporary would not have done.
A cheap weanling, who won two trials in New Zealand before coming to Hong Kong as a privately purchased griffin, Excellent Peers finished second, third, fifth (twice), seventh and 13th in his six races under Yiu’s banner before he transferred to Lor.
Campaigned exclusively over Happy Valley’s 1,200m trip since he switched from Yiu to Lor in April, Excellent Peers heads to the second section of the Class Three Saturn Handicap (1,200m) on Wednesday night in search of his third consecutive victory.
“If Excellent Peers was still in Ricky’s stable, he’d be winning races,” said a characteristically humble Lor, who must have seen something worth tweaking because the galloper has worn a crossed nose band on each of his seven post-move outings.
“The horse, when he came to my stable, everything was OK. I’ve just done the same things with him I do with all of my horses. I always say, when horses are healthy and happy, they should race well. And maybe some horses, when they change stables and enter different environments, they improve.”
Excellent Peers has shot up the ratings during his eight months with Lor, rising from a mark of 50 in April to 79 and an impost of 135 pounds in the last event on Wednesday night’s programme.
Matthew Chadwick rode Excellent Peers in each of his first three starts this season, but the fractured right ankle he sustained last week forced Lor to engage another rider.
“I needed to think about which jockeys could ride Excellent Peers,” Lor said. “Usually, all jockeys have bookings already, so I needed to wait for the entries to come out. I asked Hugh Bowman, and he said, ‘OK, I can ride for you’. I put Hugh on Excellent Peers for a gallop on Monday.”
Excellent Peers is one of three last-start winners in the field for Wednesday night’s second section of the Saturn Handicap, with the others being Danny Shum Chap-shing’s unbeaten Nordic Dragon and Benno Yung Tin-pang’s Hyper Dragon Ball, who won both of his last two races in regional New South Wales before he swapped Australia for Hong Kong.
Lor, who leads this term’s trainers’ premiership on countback from Tony Cruz and John Size – all three handlers have celebrated 22 victories – has five gallopers heading to Happy Valley on Wednesday night, including debutant Happy Golf in the Class Four American Club Challenge Cup (1,000m).
“Happy Golf is a good horse. He’s still learning. In his trials he was keen, so that’s why I’ve put him in a 1,000m race at Happy Valley. I’ve trialled him at the Valley, and the pace should be fast, which should make it easier for him to relax,” Lor said.
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