Hong Kong racing has once again played a formative role in the career of a top-class jockey, the latest example being the brilliant Christophe Soumillon. The 22-year-old Belgian ace was the toast of Paris on Sunday after turning in a nerveless exhibition on favourite Dalakhani to take Europe's most prestigious race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Soumillon rode with distinction in Hong Kong during the European winter and stamped himself as a future star, winning 15 races and notching a further 26 minor placings from just 120 rides. Like so many internationals before him, Soumillon returned to Europe an improved rider after his stint in Hong Kong, where twice-weekly competition against Douglas Whyte, Shane Dye, Felix Coetzee and company cannot help but have a beneficial effect on a jockey's level of professionalism. The Australian Jockey Club hosted three Group One races on Saturday and each of them was won by local boy Corey Brown, another who spent some time in Hong Kong's 'finishing school'. Brown was a popular and successful rider when brought here in the 2000-01 season as a club jockey. He was a good rider before he earned his Hong Kong stripes but an even better one when he returned home. Brown is now the number two jockey (behind Darren Beadman) for the powerful Crown Lodge stable of John Hawkes, who provided him with the mount on Nielo, winner of the AJC Spring Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 2,000m) for three-year-olds. Brown also won the AJC Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1,600m) on this year's AJC Derby winner Clangalang for Gold Coast trainer Gerald Ryan, and the AJC Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 600m) on Zabeel filly Unearthly. Incidentally, Unearthly was the first Australian Group One winner for successful South African David Payne, who moved to Sydney last year to further his already distinguished career. A training setback a few weeks ago looks like proving a blessing for the Hong Kong International meeting in December, as it has meant a change in plans for Clangalang. The four-year-old was originally set for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but Ryan had to shelve those plans after his training schedule was unavoidably interrupted by a small injury. Instead, Ryan only had sufficient time to prepare Clangalang for the 1,600 metres of Saturday's Epsom, rather than the more demanding 2,400 metres of the Caulfield Cup two weeks later. And the next goal in the substitute gameplan will be the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on December 14. There are also positive signs that owner Bob Ingham and trainer John Hawkes are thinking seriously about the Hong Kong Cup with Australia's number one galloper at the moment, Lonhro. The handsome black five-year-old, who has won an amazing 21 of his 28 starts, is a short-priced favourite for the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley - Australia's leg of the World Racing Series - on October 24. The Hawkes-Ingham combination has never travelled a horse outside Australia because the prizemoney is so good at home. But the reported A$25 million difference that a visit to Royal Ascot made to Choisir's stud career may be precipitating a rethink. Lonhro is a stallion, a son of 10-time Group One winner Octagonal and from the multiple Group One producer Shadea. He's already an easy-to-market commodity as a stallion, but it will be an even simpler task should he add the Hong Kong Cup to his resume. Exaggerate, owned by Singapore property magnate Ng Teng-fong's Lucky Stable, won the Committee's Prize at Kranji on Friday and he, too, is a Hong Kong possibility for international day. Exaggerate carries the same colours as Daliapour, winner of the Hong Kong Vase in 2001, and that's the likely goal for the Zabeel gelding if he comes through his next two runs - the Raffles Cup and Singapore Gold Cup.