Racing

Lui makes Yiu feel the heat

He closes in to just a winner behind long-time leader

Long-time leader Ricky Yiu is feeling the heat after his closest rival for Hong Kong champion trainer, Francis Lui, maintained his excellent form with a double at Sha Tin on Saturday.

On Wednesday night, Yiu saw Lui close in to only two winners behind with the latter's four-timer.

That became a slender lead of one winner when Lui's Winston's Lad struck in Race 2, but Yiu pulled one back in Race 9 with 26-1 shot Alcari.

Then Lui served up his brace with Water Diviner in the final event to send the score to 62-61.

"Every single win counts heavily," said Yiu said. "Francis' four wins on Wednesday were amazing."

But Yiu is hoping his sustained approach and hard work will draw luck his way through the season's final five fixtures.

"I'll keep my head down, keep focused and do my best, then there's no regret," he said.

Alcari earned his first win in two years off a run of modest form in 2020 that prompted Yiu to send the five-year-old for a revitalising sojourn at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Conghua facility.

"He's another one from Conghua - only Conghua can explain why he won today. Quite a few of my horses have run well after going to Conghua, so I have to believe that's the same with this horse," he said.

Jockey Matthew Poon, victorious on the stable's Jolly Banner in the Group 3 Premier Cup the previous weekend, drove Alcari home in the Class 3 Lamma Island Handicap over 1,400m.

Lui has nailed 10 wins in June to pile the pressure on Yiu, but he too is looking over his shoulder as he attempts to seal an unexpected first career championship.

"It's exciting, of course," he said. "I just don't have much left but the horses are in form. I try my best, I don't want to focus on who is doing what - even Tony Cruz is also there." - HKJC

HORSE RACING