Lucky Quality did his part, winning the Feb. 7 Class One Jebsen Industrial Handicap on the all-weather track at Sha Tin under top weight of 133 pounds, and now the ball is in the court of the Dubai Racing Club to see if the flying 4-year-old becomes Hong Kong’s next international runner.
Lucky Quality made it five wins for the season when he led for most of the 1,200 meters and comfortably held Solar Mighty at bay to score by 1 1/4 lengths -- no mean effort when you realize the runner-up has won his last two starts on the surface and was receiving 30 pounds from Lucky Quality.
Trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak wants to take his freakish dirt racer to Dubai for the Group One Golden Shaheen over the straight 1,200 meters course at Nad al Sheba on World Cup night at the end of March.
And indications from Dubai last night gave Tsui and owner Peter Wu Hin-ting cause for optimism. The Jockey Club’s international racing manager Mark Player called Dubai immediately after Lucky Quality’s authoritative display and gave his Emirates Racing Association counterpart a blow by blow description of the win.
“Martin is one vote on the committee that decides on the invitees for the Group Ones on World Cup night, so while he cannot commit definitely today, he is quite optimistic,” Player reported.
Winning jockey Olivier Doleuze was delighted to hear that bulletin and having been on board Lucky Quality in four of those five wins, he’s keen to maintain the association in Dubai.
“It was a very good win because he’s now as high as you can go in dirt racing in Hong Kong -- there’s nothing left for him,” Doleuze observed. “Today, he was a bit more relaxed than usual and that worried me a little, but once he got into his rhythm in the race I was never really concerned.
“He has tremendous speed, he loves racing on the dirt and it was a great effort today, giving away such a big weight to a horse who has won his last two starts as well.”
Doleuze was king of the dirt at Shat Tin, making it a double on the artificial surface when Dynamic Blitz won the Class Three Jebsen Marine Handicap in an afternoon stroll, posting a 6 1/4 length margin.
“I was very pleased with this horse, he feels like a good horse underneath me,” Doleuze said. “He has already beaten Kildare down the straight on turf, and he’s won by a big margin on the dirt.
“While Lucky Quality is clearly a superior horse on the dirt, I think this horse is just as good on turf or the dirt. After all, he’s already beaten Kildare down the straight on the turf, so how strong is that form now?”
Apart from their love of the all-weather track, being ridden by Doleuze and each starting favorite, these young gun sprinters are by the same sire -- Darley’s explosive sprinter Elusive Quality.
The son of champion sire Gone West commands a $75,000 stud fee this season in America and should be more popular than ever, with his Europe-based son Raven’s Pass having won shipped stateside in October to win the $5million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).