Champion trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen wants to keep Healthy Happy over 1,400m, reward his owners with an overdue win and dodge his superstar contemporaries for as long as the Jockey Club’s programme allows.
Those are the reasons Happy Healthy is set to carry the top weight of 135 pounds, inclusive of jockey Silvestre de Sousa, in Saturday’s main event at Sha Tin, the Class One Panasonic Cup (1,400m).
Three of Happy Healthy’s six career successes have occurred over 1,400m, including his most recent win in the Group Three Chinese Club Challenge Cup on January 1 when he lugged 132 pounds to victory.
Neither of Lor’s two highest-rated turf specialists – Master Eight and Healthy Healthy – has won a race since New Year’s Day, with the handler saddling 70 winners in the interim, among them four triumphs apiece for Beauty Live and Rewarding Together.
Lor hopes his decision to declare Happy Healthy for Saturday’s Class One contest results in connections witnessing their seven-year-old galloper end his run of eight losses, which include beating a total of just one horse in the three Group One events he tackled last season.
“For me, 1,400 is the best distance for him,” said Lor of Healthy Happy, who led all the way to win his 1,200m Conghua trial five weeks after his first-up two-length second to California Spangle in the Group Three Celebration Cup (1,400m) on September 25.
“[Next weekend’s Jockey Club Mile has attracted] too strong a field. I want to try to win a race for his owners first, so his target for me is Saturday’s race over 1,400m. If he can win Saturday’s race, his next race should be next month’s Hong Kong Mile.
“If he wins Saturday’s race, his rating is likely to go above 110. There isn’t a race for him in the plan [other than the Hong Kong Mile], so maybe I’d run him in that to see if he could earn some more prize money,” added Lor, who is yet to see the Jockey Club’s programme for January and beyond.
The Panasonic Cup field comprises nine gallopers, of whom the only last-start winner is Tony Cruz-trained four-year-old Circuit Stellar, who led all the way in Class Three company on October 23.
Cruz has booked Angus Chung Yik-lai to ride Circuit Stellar, whom Jockey Club handicappers
allocated a Panasonic Cup impost of 115 pounds before accounting for his apprentice jockey’s 10-pound claim. Chung’s advised minimum riding weight is 106 pounds.
Returning to Lor’s Saturday runners, his nine-strong squad includes Hong Kong debutant Sword Point, who won two of his eight starts in Australia for Chris Waller before arriving in the city five months ago.
Lor has engaged Zac Purton to steer Sword Point in the Class Three Panasonic Nanoe x Thermo Ventilator Handicap (1,400m), with the champion jockey on the Group Two placegetter in each of his three trials.
Sword Point must carry 11 pounds more than unbeaten John Size-prepared galloper Sweet Encounter in the last race on the Sha Tin card, with the finale’s field featuring half a dozen last-start winners.
“Sword Point is one of my horses who could go to the four-year-old series. We’ll wait and see,” Lor said.
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