Racing

Lor's on a high after Classic win

Bowman steers Lor-trained Furore to a grand victory

The son of a stablehand has been making waves in Hong Kong racing.

The name's Frankie Lor and, after tasting his first Group 1 success last month, the second-season handler continued to shake things up when he saddled the winner of Sunday's Hong Kong Classic Mile.

The horse which did it for him was Furore and, for good measure, the former jockey also sealed second and fourth placings in the big race.

Furore was ridden by Hugh Bowman and, with that victory, the road seemed headed for the BMW Hong Kong Derby over 2,000m on March 17.

All must seem like a dream for Lor - and in many ways, it is.

Furore's win arrived one year after Lor's Morethanlucky had finished third in the Classic Series' opening gambit.

The then-rookie trainer received warm recognition for that effort, but few could have thought then that the ambitious rising star of the training ranks would arrive at the next edition with the strongest hand in town.

The stablehand's son, who was raised within view of Happy Valley Racecourse, is on a rapid upward trajectory.

He ended his debut campaign second in the championship, behind his old master John Size, but having set a record of wins for a first-season trainer.

His ability to secure one of the world's biggest-name jockeys for Furore - not forgetting Silvestre de Sousa on Dark Dream and Zac Purton on Superich - is, in some measure, evidence of the handler's rapid rise up the Sha Tin ranks.

He, however, passed it off casually.

"The owner suggested we put on a very good jockey, so I thought it must be Ryan Moore or Hugh Bowman, and I asked Bowman," he said.

In fairness, success was not exactly expected.

Furore, the third choice in the market, was not even the top pick among Lor's five runners - a record number for a trainer in the race.

"I thought Dark Dream was my best chance," said Lor.

It wasn't to be. Dark Dream, the 2.8 favourite endured a difficult run to finish fourth, 23/4 lengths behind his stablemate.

"Furore's form has improved each race," Lor continued. "I thought he'd run well but winning came as a little bit of a surprise because I thought Dark Dream was a little bit better."

Bowman backed that assessment. The Australian ace was on the ground a week ago, riding Furore for the first time in a morning gallop.

"I sat on him last week and certainly wouldn't have expected him to show that sort of turn of foot over this distance against this opposition," said Bowman.

"He worked like he'd run well at a mile but I had my doubts that he could win at this class at the mile.

"I thought, that being the case, I wanted to ride him a bit more conservatively than he was last start, just to get him a confidence-boosting run heading towards the Derby.

"But judging from how he performed, he's now a good bet for the 2,000m event."

Bowman's best previous finish in the race was a frustrating second aboard Werther three years ago.

HORSE RACING