Simply Brilliant produced an effort fit for his name as he defied a tough run and miserable conditions to prevail in the Class One Chevalier Cup (1,600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
It was a monster performance from the four-year-old, who was stuck three-wide without cover after jumping from barrier two, but kept finding when required to hold off a gallant What Else But You in the run to the line.
Jockey Alexis Badel said the plan was to find him some room – but “not that much” – however the gelding responded to the Frenchman’s style to continue his progression up the grades.
“I think he was happy when I moved out a little bit after the start because they went a bit fast for me, I didn’t want to be stuck on the inside because of the rain – the track was a bit sticky on the inside. So I had no hesitation to move out and give him plenty of space and he did a great job,” Badel, who also guided Wishful Thinker to victory, said.
Hong Kong's very own French chevalier wins the Chevalier Cup! @AlexisBadel partners the rugged Simply Brilliant for the first time and doubles up as Frankie Lor's Frankel gelding shows courage aplenty to wear down What Else But You and Rise High. #HKIR #HKracing pic.twitter.com/DYA4OmxZOW— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 25, 2018
“I tried to follow Douglas Whyte on Good Standing two-deep, but he pushed me outside and I didn’t want to hold my horse to ride with pressure so I just left him happy.
“I think he showed something strong, I don’t know if it was the ground that help him, but he gave me something good.”
Simply Brilliant is the only son of Frankel to win in Hong Kong (five have raced here) and he still looks to have upside.
“He looks to have improved so for me that’s a good thing because you’ve got a horse by Frankel and that will make the owners very happy,” trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen said.
“At this moment 1,600m is his best trip, but maybe later on he can get to 1,800m.
“His rating will probably go up to about 108 so we will have to start aiming higher than him – I’ll have to look at the programme and see where we can go.”
The win equalled Dundonnell’s victory in the Class One Chinese New Year Cup earlier this year as the biggest of Lor’s career so far, but he will be looking to go even higher when the likes of Mr Stunning and Glorious Forever compete in next month’s Longines Hong Kong International Races.
Speaking of the meeting on December 9, trainer Tony Millard was delighted with the effort of Northern Superstar, who ran on well to finish sixth, four-and-a-half lengths behind the winner.
The five-year-old won two Group Ones in his native South Africa when known as Edict Of Nantes and was having his first race start after almost 12 months off the scene.
He is down to run in the Hong Kong Cup and Millard is going to push ahead with those plans.
“It was a very good run, he finished off very strongly, just with the hands,” he said.
“Whatever happens, we will go ahead to the big race now. I think however he runs on International Day, he will certainly have a say in the rest of the season for sure. For his first run after a year, it was an amazing run, he was three-wide.”