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Lor armed up for Group 3 features at Sha Tin

Frankie Lor heads into Sunday’s (23 June) Group 3 double-header at Sha Tin with four representatives and he is optimistic their recent trips to Conghua can prove pivotal to success in either of the season’s final Group races this weekend.

Lor saddles Healthy Happy (117lb) in the HK$4.2 million G3 Premier Cup Handicap (1400m), while Happy Together (126lb), Sword Point (118lb) and All For St Paul’s (115lb) tackle the HK$4.2 million G3 Premier Plate Handicap (1800m). The quartet of runners arrived at Sha Tin from Conghua this week ahead of the term’s 82nd fixture.

Seeking a return to form, Sword Point was Group 2-placed earlier this season before failing to reach a top-five finish across six subsequent runs. The chestnut has since appeared in fine order in a recent barrier trial on the turf at Conghua, crossing the line second over 1200m.

“Early on his first few runs were good this season, then later on his form dropped off a little bit. I’ve given him a break and he just returned from Conghua — he looks good after freshening up,” Lor said. “He trialled well there. He’s won over 1800 metres before, too.”

Frankie Lor (left) will saddle up Sword Point for the HK$4.2 million G3 Premier Plate Handicap; picture hkjc.com

Lor has 15 wins this campaign from horses who spent time at Conghua before returning to Hong Kong for victory at their first start in the city after shuttling back from the Mainland facility, which is renowned for its infrastructure, offerings and serene environment.

“They have lots of facilities up there — spa, treadmill, massages and more. It’s good for the horses. It’s also quieter, the horses relax over there,” he said.

Beauty Joy (135lb), Galaxy Patch (129lb), Nimble Nimbus (124lb), Five G Patch (121lb), La City Blanche (119lb), Chancheng Glory (115lb), C P Brave (115lb) and The Best Peach (115lb) also feature in the Premier Plate. 

Happy Together seeks a sixth win this season and second in the grade for Lor after capturing the HK$4.2 million G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) at the start of 2024.

“He’s going well and he looks good. He also came back from Conghua this week,” Lor said.

All For St Paul’s has won nine races in Hong Kong, largely with go-forward tactics employed, although he is yet to be tested at Group 3 level.

“He’s been an amazing horse for me. When he came to Hong Kong and trialled, the owners came to see his first trial and he showed nothing. He finished last. Sometimes they just need time,” Lor said. 

The seven-year-old has earnt HK$14.37 million across 50 starts in Hong Kong.

“It looks like there isn’t too much pace in the race, so maybe he can do this thing. Chancheng Glory will go forward but maybe our horse can lead in front,” Lor said.

Healthy Happy is another of Lor’s veterans, who has won five times from 32 starts in Hong Kong, including first-up this campaign in the HK$4.2 million G3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m). 

“He’s good. He’s an old man now but he’s holding his form well. Tony Cruz has California Spangle in the race, he’s a really good Group 1 horse, but it depends, I think 1400 metres is the best distance for my horse, so we’ll try,” Lor said. 

California Spangle (135lb), Taj Dragon (120lb), Flying Ace (116lb), Mugen (115lb), Packing Treadmill (115lb) and Telecom Fighters (115lb) also line-up.

Lor also fields Top Gun, Illuminous, Beauty Missile, Triple Bliss and Ever Smart on the undercard at Sha Tin.

Sunday’s (23 June) 11-race fixture at Sha Tin commences at 4pm with the Class 4 Ruby Handicap (1200m).

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