Frankie Lor Fu-chuen, a celebrated name in horse training, is eager to see how his potential Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen runner, Youthful Deal, will fare in the 1,650m race at Sha Tin come Wednesday night. This decision arises from a unique combination of circumstances, including Typhoon Koinu and Hong Kong’s limited dirt programme.
Youthful Deal has previously made waves by winning four sprints on the all-weather track at Sha Tin. However, he finished last among six contenders, trailing behind prominent horses like Victor The Winner and Lucky Sweynesse during the season opener. To add to the intrigue, Typhoon Koinu’s close approach to Hong Kong led the Jockey Club to cancel its October 8 meeting. Youthful Deal was widely expected to excel in this meeting, being the favorite for the Class Two dirt dash.
Lor shared his anticipation for the upcoming Wednesday race, mentioning that opportunities for dirt races in Hong Kong are relatively few. The unexpected cancellation due to the typhoon only heightened this scarcity. He revealed, “I had initially entered him [Youthful Deal] in a dirt race a few weeks back, but unfortunately, the typhoon interfered.”
Considering the next 1,200m dirt race isn’t scheduled until December 3, Lor decided to experiment with Youthful Deal’s abilities over 1,650m. He reasoned, “I believe this race would be suitable for him due to the expected fast pace. He’s adept at maintaining a position slightly behind the leading pace.” With 13 victories from 57 participants last season, Lor’s record in dirt races is commendable. He acknowledges the longer distance would be a novel challenge for Youthful Deal but remains optimistic.
If Youthful Deal performs admirably during Wednesday night’s Class Two Hebe Hill Handicap, Lor may consider the Dubai Golden Shaheen at the Meydan dirt for the horse during the World Cup meeting in March. Lor remarked, “Much will depend on his rating. A commendable performance on the dirt could propel us towards considering Dubai.”
For Wednesday’s race, jockey Matthew Chadwick will be on Youthful Deal’s saddle, as the horse’s regular jockey, Vincent Ho Chak-yiu, is currently suspended. Furthermore, Lor has entered three horses for the 1,650m feature, with All For St Paul’s and Everyone’s Delight complementing Youthful Deal in the robust 13-horse lineup.
The horse racing community will also be closely observing the partnership between Zac Purton and Lor during the eight-race card. Especially notable is the horse, Stand Up, who consistently finished second last season. Lor hopes that with Purton’s expertise, Stand Up will finally clinch a first-place finish in the Class Four Tin Ha Shan Handicap.