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Emotional Paul O’Sullivan signs off with a winner as Frankie Lor is confirmed champion trainer | HK Racing

An emotional Paul O’Sullivan waved a winner to Hong Kong as Frankie Lor Fu-chuen claimed his first coaching championship in Sha Tin on Saturday.

O’Sullivan was surprised not only by his own reaction, but also by the crowd and jockey Zac Purton after Turquoise Alpha sent him flying back to New Zealand on a high-altitude flight after a salute in the Class Four Solar Hei Hei Handicap (1,800m).

“It surprised me because I got very emotional and took like 1,000 selfies with the crowd,” O’Sullivan said.

“I made the mistake of going through them [crowd] there and said goodbye to a lot of people I didn’t know. It was very good. It’s nice to know that I’m, well, I wouldn’t say liked, but disliked.”

Paul O'Sullivan and Zac Purton hug after Turquoise Alpha's win.

O’Sullivan isn’t usually the liveliest after a win, but has been in fine form after helping good friend Purton to a fifth title.

“I thought the horse would walk well. He was a bit fickle but the fact that Zac pretended he won the derby and gave me a big hug makes it a special day,” he said.

“I didn’t think I would get so emotional. I’ve been lucky enough to win a lot of races and I just win them, nod and walk out of the weigh room. Usually you win a race, it’s nice and you move on, but that was the last day.

“Zac and I had a wonderful bond and the fact that it meant so much to Zac was very good.”

O’Sullivan is leaving town on a high and with his runners in good shape, looking forward to leaving with happy memories.

“Obviously I’ll miss the place, but it’s certainly not where I want to retire,” O’Sullivan said.

“It’s a good time to go home and I’m really happy that the last three months have been really successful. I’m glad I don’t go out and kick stones. The last three months have probably been as good as all three months I’ve had here.

“When I came to Hong Kong, I kept in touch with everyone in New Zealand I knew through phone calls and other means, as I knew I would be going home one day and I didn’t know what to say to people: ‘Who are you? I have not seen you for a long time’.

“I’d like to think I’ll do the same to Hong Kong people, even if it’s ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Chinese New Year’, I’ll definitely keep in touch.”

As O’Sullivan left the stage, Lor’s first coaching championship became official and the 56-year-old is poised to be a key player for years to come.

By the time the meeting started, Lor had all but secured victory, and after his closest rival, John Size, drew a gap in the first few races, Lor could begin his celebrations.

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“I have to thank the Jockey Club first, I joined the club in 1981 and have been there for 41 years and the owners have been really supportive,” Lor said.

“At the moment I’ve only had a coaching license for five years and to win the championship this season makes me very happy because I’m a local coach and that means local coaches can win the championship too.”

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https://www.scmp.com/sport/racing/article/3185530/emotional-paul-osullivan-signs-winner-frankie-lor-confirmed-champion?utm_source=rss_feed Emotional Paul O’Sullivan signs off with a winner as Frankie Lor is confirmed champion trainer | HK Racing

Linh

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