Typhoon and programme blow Lor’s original plan for Youthful Deal off course
Typhoon Koinu and Hong Kong’s limited dirt programme have forced Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s hand with possible Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen (1,200m) runner Youthful Deal, who races over 1,650m for the first time at Sha Tin on Wednesday night.
Triumphant in four sprints on Sha Tin’s all-weather circuit, Youthful Deal finished last of six behind the likes of Victor The Winner and Lucky Sweynesse in the turf Class One HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (1,200m) that headlined this season’s opening day before Typhoon Koinu’s proximity to Hong Kong forced the Jockey Club to call off its October 8 meeting in which he was the favourite for a Class Two dirt dash.
“I’m looking forward to Wednesday as there aren’t too many dirt races in Hong Kong. I entered him [Youthful Deal] a few weeks ago on the dirt, but unfortunately, the typhoon cancelled the meeting,” Lor said.
“There’s no 1,200m race on the dirt until December 3, so I’m going to try and see if he can handle 1,650m. I think this race is good for him because there’ll be a fast pace, and he can sit in behind.”
Lor topped the trainers’ standings on dirt last term, bagging 13 wins from 57 runners, and appreciates the step up in trip presents Youthful Deal with a new challenge.
“He might handle the distance because he’s really good on dirt. We don’t know, but we’ve put him in to see,” Lor said of his five-year-old galloper. “I was thinking about whether to run him or not. I thought, if I didn’t run him over 1,650m, I’d need to trial him.”
Following Wednesday night’s Class Two Hebe Hill Handicap, a possible tilt at the Dubai Golden Shaheen on the Meydan dirt during March’s World Cup meeting may be on Youthful Deal’s agenda.
“It depends on his rating. If he runs well on the dirt, I’ll try and send him to Dubai,” Lor said.
Matthew Chadwick hops aboard Youthful Deal for the first time, with the Deep Field gelding’s regular rider, Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, suspended.
Lor saddles three runners in the 1,650m feature, with second-up All For St Paul’s and Everyone’s Delight joining Youthful Deal in the 13-strong field.
“All For St Paul’s was second over 1,800m last season, so I think he’ll handle the track, while Everyone’s Delight has an outside draw, which isn’t easy for him.”
Zac Purton sits four wins behind early championship pacesetter Hugh Bowman – who begins his five-meeting ban on Wednesday night – and combines with Lor twice during the eight-race card.
Stand Up won his most recent trial at Sha Tin over 1,050m, and Lor hopes he can finally get his head in front at the 12th time of asking when he contests the first section of the Class Four Tin Ha Shan Handicap (1,200m).
“This horse has been really unlucky and always seemed to finish second last season. We’ve put Zac on board, and hopefully, he can bring me some luck,” Lor said of Stand Up, silver medallist in four consecutive races last season.
Among Stand Up’s Tin Ha Shan Handicap opponents are last-start winners Happy Fat Cat and Smart Folks.
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Beauty Missile, Everyone’s Victory and Cool Blue complete Lor’s Sha Tin squad, with the trainer tweaking the latter’s head gear for his second-up assignment.
“He’s good on the dirt, and this time I’ve put the cheekpieces on to help him concentrate,” Lor said ahead of Cool Blue’s run in the second section of the Tin Ha Shan Handicap.
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