Local jockey Derek Leung Ka-chun stole the show at Sha Tin on Saturday, collecting his first treble in almost two-and-a-half years.
Leung’s victories aboard Gala Night, Smoothies and Simply Brilliant marked his first three-timer since October 1, 2017 when he collected victories on the likes of Beauty Generation (Group Three) and Pingwu Spark (Class Two).
“It was a good day, long may it continue,” Leung smiled.
Winning at odds of $10, $14 and $17, Leung made the most of limited opportunities but said he rarely checked his runner’s prices before a race.
“I don’t really care about the odds, they are big prices, so what? It is more pressure on the guys with hot favourites,” he said.
“I always see [Joao Moreira and Zac Purton] in the run and try to maybe follow them then let the horse do its best. If they win, they win, if they don’t, so be it.”
It was his victory in the Class One Lung Cheung Handicap (1,600m) aboard Simply Brilliant that meant the most, with Leung repaying the faith of trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen after a troublesome run last time out.
Leung was never able to get clear room in a luckless sixth last start, but he ensured it was not a problem this time around, pulling out as one of the widest runners in the straight.
“Simply Brilliant was the best one, last time he didn’t jump so well and with a slow pace, he couldn’t get any room to move. Even after the winning post I was still pulling up on their heels,” Leung said.
“He has been quite unlucky, so this time I was the lucky one because the owner and the trainer gave me the opportunity again. Today I made sure I got clear room and I knew he would do his best work.”
Having raced in Group One company earlier this season, Leung said he knew his galloper had the class to put his rivals to the sword.
With just 121 pounds on his back thanks to top-weight Ka Ying Star’s big rating and a clear run in transit, he managed to do just that.
“He is always competing in Group races against horses like Beauty Generation and he isn’t too far off so he is better quality than many of those horses today. He is just getting a bit older now, that is all,” he said. “In a Class One, carrying 121 pounds – it was perfect for him.”
Remarkably, it was just Leung’s third victory for Lor since they teamed up to steal the Classic Cup last year at knockout odds ($92) with Mission Tycoon.
Lor gave credit to Leung for his ability to bounce back after the disappointing performance at Happy Valley.
“You can see he didn’t get any room or a clear run. If he did, it would have been different,” he said. “This time, I just put Derek on again and he rode a good race.”
Lor indicated Simply Brilliant will head to the Group Two Chairman’s Trophy (1,600m) on April 5 before picking a Group One race on FWD Champions Day later that month.