“Both are in good condition, if the rain continues it should be better for Dark Dream,” said Lor.
Frankie Lor prepares Glorious Forever and Dark Dream in Sunday’s race and the handler is hoping the forecasted rain dampens the track for Dark Dream, as the four-year-old aims to bounce back from a sub-par seventh in the G1 QEII Cup (2000m) behind Win Bright.
“I think it should be better for him, the rain and the step up in distance,” Lor said.
Dark Dream’s 2018 Queensland Derby (2200m) triumph in Australia came on a Heavy rated track and his handler is hoping the Hong Kong Observatory’s forecast of weekend rain provides a similar surface for Dark Dream on Sunday.
Dark Dream is one of four in the field including his stablemate who is untried over 2400m and while Frankie Lor expects rain to aid the son of All American, he expects the same from the added distance.
“I think it’ll be no problem, he stayed 2200m in the Queensland Derby,” the handler said.
Dark Dream proved his worth on the rain-affected ground when scoring his first Hong Kong win in the Class 2 Long Ke Handicap (2000m) last December.
Silvestre de Sousa drove the gelding to a four and a half-length victory that day following an afternoon downpour which softened the surface.
Lor also saddles up reigning G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) champion Glorious Forever, who kept on for fourth behind Win Bright in last month’s G1 QEII Cup (2000m).
James McDonald will partner the gelding as he makes the unknown leap to 2400m, but Lor is mindful of the gelding’s brother and noted frontrunner, Time Warp.
“I think for me he’s still ok over 2400m, his brother (Time Warp) is in the same race, we need to see where we will settle,” the handler said.
Glorious Forever and his full brother Time Warp regularly roll forward to the front to contest the lead together; the former got the better of his sibling in the 2018 Hong Kong Cup, after the duo famously sat 1-2 throughout the race.
Lor hinted the five-year-old’s tactics will depend on how the race takes shape.
“I think the time will be fast. I don’t want him to pull too hard, sometimes it isn’t good for the horse and I just want him to be comfortable,” said Lor.
This day last year, Glorious Forever at only his second start in Hong Kong finished second to Consort at 74/1 by a nose in an 1800m Class 3, and since then both horse and trainer have come a long way.
G1 success followed for both horse and trainer and in just his second season, Lor is only seven wins behind his former boss John Size, as the race to be crowned Hong Kong’s Champion Trainer begins to heat up.
“I’ll continue to try my best, I still have some more (horses) to come,” said Lor.
Size’s Beauty hopes to cap off stellar season with G3
Full Of Beauty hit the ground running in Hong Kong and John Size is hoping his gelding can cap off a near perfect debut campaign with a stakes success in Sunday’s G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m).
“I think his form’s been very good, he’s improved every time he’s gone to the races and made fairly quick progress up to over the 100’s (Rating),” said Size.
Size’s four-year-old made his first five appearances count in Hong Kong, winning them all and nearly doubling his rating from a Class 4 mark of 52 to a Class 2 mark of 103, following two recent runner-up efforts.
“I think he’s handling it quite well, he didn’t start racing until he was four but he seems to be tough enough to go through this campaign and keep racing,” added Size.
The son of Darci Brahma has raced seven times this for five wins and Size indicates that he is happy with his condition of Sunday’s G3.
“He’s quite a gross doing horse, his condition is always pretty good, he carries a bit of weight, you never see his ribs or anything so he’s got a good constitution,” the handler said.
“I think that he’ll back up ok and with the lighter weight,” said Size.
The absence of both Beat The Clock and Mr Stunning in Sunday’s dash has opened the race wide up.
Little Giant who finished third in this year’s Chairman’s Sprint Prize will carry 133lb at the top of the scale, ahead of Wishful Thinker who will lug 129lb and returns first up from a last-start seventh in Dubai’s G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m).
“Normally they have an advantage the horses at the bottom of the scale but the top weights - they’re good horses and it’s hard to imagine that they come back in class and win, but sometimes they can do that just on their quality,” Size said.
Size also saddle up Class 2 winner Gunnison and the forecast of rain could be key to the recent dirt winner’s chances.
“There’s a little bit of rain around, so if that continues to come that’d be his chance of winning the race,” said Size.
The trainer explained that while Gunnison may need the sting out of the ground, the same didn’t apply for Full Of Beauty.
“I think he’s probably better on the fast track, but it’s hard to quantify our track conditions if it doesn’t get that wet that if affects a lot of horses, but it probably helps the ones that are looking for it,” the handler said.
Size indicated Sunday’s race is potentially the last time we will see the duo for the 2018/19 season.
“I don’t think there is another race for them,” Size said.
Sunday’s G1 action at Sha Tin begins at 12:30pm with the Liberator Plate (1200m) for the Griffins.