Frankie Lor two-pronged in Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup


By Declan Schuster


Frankie Lor will saddle Money Catcher and Sword Point against the might of Romantic Warrior in Sundays (25 February) HK$13 million G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin.


The Triple Crowns second leg features 11 runners, including Voyage Bubble, winner of the first leg V the HK$13 million G1 Stewards Cup (1600m). Romantic Warrior heads the declarations and is chasing a sixth Group 1 crown from the widest barrier. 


Money Catcher and Sword Point return aiming to recapture their best form, with the front-running Money Catcher drawing gate 10. Sword Point breaks from post five.


Hes (Money Catcher) a one-paced horse but hes always consistent. Luke Ferraris rides him and he looks good in trackwork. Well see what happens, Lor said.


Money Catcher hasnt quite reproduced his heroics from last season which returned two Group 3 wins and a pair of Group 1 placings. Hes managed only one top-three finish from six runs, finishing third in the HK$5.35 million G2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2000m) behind Straight Arron, while Sword Point produced a career-high when second in that same race.


He (Sword Point) looks like he can improve but not too much. Maybe a little bit, 2000 metres is suitable for him and Lyle Hewitson rides him, Lor said.


Each runner in the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup carries 126lb. Voyage Bubble drew barrier seven with Zac Purton, while Straight Arron goes from stall six under Hugh Bowman.


The HK$13 million G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) in May is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown. River Verdon (1994) is the only Triple Crown winner in Hong Kong racing history.


Beauty Joy, Encountered, Nimble Nimbus, Senor Toba, Five G Patch and Champion Dragon round out the Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup field.


Now in the second half of the 2023/24 racing season, former Hong Kong Champion Trainer (2021/22) Lor is expecting improvement from his yard as the campaign progresses.


So far, so good. Its been not too bad this season but some horses have injuries and temperatures, so its hard to say, I hope over the next few months it should get better, he said.


Lor has a team of seven engaged this weekend as he aims to enhance his 24 wins this campaign, including sparkling debut winner Illuminous in the Class 3 Citi Investment Services Handicap (1400m) with Karis Teetan up.


Im looking towards the Derby and hopefully, hell get a higher rating. At the moment he is only rated 71, so I need to race him two times at least and see if he can win. If he can, maybe we can look forward to the Derby, Lor said.


The HK$26 million 147th BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) is run on 24 March. 


Benno Yung has last-start winner Ace Victory lining up in the Class 3 Citi Mortgage Services Handicap (1200m) with Jerry Chau booked to ride. The five-year-old rises in grade and steps away from barrier 10.


He dropped to Class 4 and the field was a bit weak. Itll be a big challenge for him back up in grade, Yung said.


Fun Together takes aim at Illuminous in the finale for Yung, who hopes the three-time winner this season has further scope to ascend. Chau remains aboard the 70-rater.  


I think his form is still pretty good and he is improving. Hes a nice horse, he said.


Following her win at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (21 February), trainer Pierre Ng is eyeing more success in the upper grades with Bons A Pearla.


It was a nice win. With a lighter weight on her she can really sprint home well, it wasnt top weight V last time it was and that was a bit difficult for her. Im looking forward to running her in Class 2 with a light weight V shell be very competitive there, he said.


Ng has eight runners declared at Sha Tin on Sunday, including Frantanck in the Class 3 Citi Insurance Services Handicap (1600m) who jumps from barrier one.


Hes very consistent but hes sort of one-paced and hes hard to get in front. Angus Chung rides this time and well keep rolling him to the front, Ng said.


Jumbo Fortune represents the stable aiming for a second win through 2023/24.


Hes racing well. He ran well last start, he finished off to get within two lengths of the winner last time out. 1400 metres and a light weight V he will be competitive, Ng said.


Antoine Hamelin rides Jumbo Fortune from gate seven this weekend.


Sundays (25 February) 10-race fixture at Sha Tin commences at 1pm with the Class 4 Citi Global Wealth Handicap (2000m).



Photo 1

Sword Point is a two-time winner in Hong Kong for Frankie Lor.


Photo 2

Fun Together wins under Jerry Chau at Sha Tin.