British and Irish horses have long played a significant part in the prosperity of Hong Kong racing and expat equines have been thriving of late.
Ka Ying Star, who was highly progressive as Urban Aspect for Andrew Balding last summer, took an early step on the Derby trail with a decisive all-the-way success in last week's finale at Sha Tin.
And the durable Simply Brilliant gave Frankel his first Group winner in Hong Kong when landing a dramatic January Cup at Happy Valley's midweek fixture.
The flashy chestnut was known as Senator and trained by Richard Fahey when he ran well in the 2017 Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot and has since turned into one of the most progressive handicappers on the Hong Kong circuit for upwardly mobile Frankie Lor.
Wednesday’s G3 success was given added drama as Simply Brilliant dislodged Alexis Badel just after the line – causing a wrist injury which keeps the Frenchman out of action this weekend – but the winner was none the worse after completing an extra lap and has now collected the thick end of £900,000 for five wins since leaving Malton.
Simply Brilliant lands a thrilling January Cup at Happy Valley:
Fahey knows just what type of horse is needed to thrive on the Hong Kong beat – he also trained star HK sprinter Peniaphobia in his early days – and is looking forward to seeing how recent exports like Coventry Stakes fourth and sixth Vange and Ninetythreetwenty fare in their new home.
Meanwhile, British bloodstock agent Alastair Donald was celebrating his own ‘Famous Five’ after Wednesday’s big race.
Donald has been the go-to agent for high-class European transfers to Hong Kong for many years but took things to a new level in the January Cup as the first five – namely Simply Brilliant, Citron Spirit, Insayshable, Time Warp and Dinozzo – were all sourced by him.
“It was a huge thrill to fill the first five in a big race like that and it just goes to show the potential for European horses in Hong Kong, especially over a mile plus,” he said.
“I’m very excited about a few good new recruits. We could have another five in the Hong Kong Derby in March if things go right and the ones to watch are Ka Ying Star, Waikuku, Packing Warrior, Red Warrior and Glorious Spectrum.”
Waikuku runs out an impressive winner at Sha Tin:
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