Luen Yat Forever Wins Triple Crown
Luen Yat Forever has galloped his way into the history books with a commanding win in the Group 1 Macau Gold Cup, to become the first winner of the Macau Triple Crown Series.
Ridden by Manoel Nunes, Luen Yat Forever did just what was expected of him in the $1.2 million dollar event, after never looking in doubt in the 1800 metre contest, held at the Taipa race track on Saturday
In total contrast to his Derby win where nothing went right, Luen Yat Forever was set alight by Nunes from gate 11 to be right on the backs of the leaders Unionlucky Power and Nittan's Crown, as the field raced out of the straight the first time.
From then on it was all smooth sailing with the $1.4 favourite coasting along in third spot, until Nunes let the big gelding amble up to join Unionlucky Power approaching the turn.
Given full throttle at the top of the straight Luen Yat Forever bounded away in the heavy conditions to win easily from Farson (R Silvera), with Jazza Bell (Reece Wheeler) in third.
In was a big moment for trainer Steven Choi who admitted he felt plenty of pressure early in the week until the rain arrived.
“At the barrier draw on Wednesday morning I was disappointed when he drew so badly again.” Choi said.
“I relaxed a bit after the rain came because you know that a lot of the runners are not going to handle the track so it's a bit easier.'
“But I have to say I am happy now it's all over.”
Owner Tony Chan purchased Luen Yat Forever as a weanling at the Gold Coast (Australia) Magic Millions 2006 sale for $32,000.
He is by the Irish stallion Honours List, from the Langfur dam Loisset.
The gelding was given plenty of time to mature at Chan's property in New Zealand prior to being shipped to Macau.
Even though he displayed plenty of talent from day one, a combination of immaturity and bad luck in running, dogged the galloper in his early starts, this season though he emerged as serious racehorse with wins from 1300 metres on the sand, to 1800 on the turf against our best company.
For leviathan owner Chan it was a just reward for the money he has poured into his passion for horse racing.
A long-time supporter of the MJC from the early days, Chan has 19 horses in training with the Jockey Club, as well as vast interests in New Zealand.
For Manoel Nunes it was his second win in a Triple Crown Series.
Nunes won the Brazilian Triple Crown Series when just out of his time as an apprentice on the champion galloper Quari Bravo in 1997, and whilst that was an unforgettable moment for him, the champion jockey stated that he felt more pleasure and enjoyment from Luen Yat Forever's win.
“When I won my first Triple Crown I was just a young kid and I was under a tremendous amount of pressure the whole way through.”
“Last year with Sunshine Sure Win I won the first two legs but drew barrier 14 in the Cup, so it was a really tough job.”
“But this is a different horse.”
“He is a very good racehorse that you can ride from anywhere, run on any type of track, he is just the complete racehorse.”
“I never felt any pressure with him, it's been pure enjoyment.'
“And it's a real pleasure to be the first to win the Triple Crown in Macau.”
Both runners up Farson and Jazza Bell produced brave efforts on an unsuitable track to give trainer Peter Leyshan second and third in the Cup.
In any other year Leyshan would have been hailed as a genius.
Without the presence of Luen Yat Forever, the former champion conditioner would have been looking at his fourth Macau Gold Cup and his second quinella in the event.
Leyshan won the Cup in 2001 with Best Brothers, produced the quinella in controversial circumstances in 2002 when Nixon was first past the post over stablemate Gibson, only to have placings reversed on a protest, with Farson giving him win number three in the race in 1998.
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John Hawkes has long been among the legendary figures in the training ranks in Australia - confirmed by his induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 - but he would dearly love to add an international Group 1 success to his resume.