Simply Brilliant is a son of Frankel.
After winning the 2019 edition of the race, the Frankie Lor-trained Simply Brilliant (132lb) will look to recapture his crown in the G3 January Cup Handicap (1800m) as one of two entries for his handler, who also saddles Reliable Team (114lb).
“I hope so (to winning the race again), he looks to have improved after his last two runs and the 1600 to 1800 metres is what he needs,” Lor said.
A six-time winner from 26 Hong Kong starts, the Frankel gelding had a fetlock issue mid-last year and, since that win three starts ago, has only raced twice.
“His last two runs were in strong races – he was not too bad, I know he finished second last and last but he needs to race to keep fit and he’s improving but this time he’ll carry a big weight though,” Lor said.
The gelding finished ninth in last month’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m) to Golden Sixty and did so with Derek Leung in the plate, who will again take the reins tomorrow night from gate six.
“He feels a bit better, he had an injury so he was off for a while then he only had a couple of trials and he was up against the best horses in his last two races,” Leung said. “His fitness has improved – he’s not 100 percent fit yet but with the right position I think he can still run well.”
Lor – who sits second in the trainers’ championship with 30 wins – also readies Reliable Team, who will pair with championship-leading jockey Joao Moreira from gate eight.
“He’s one-paced but with a light weight it’s suitable for him – he needs to be forward in the run,” Lor said.
Alexis Badel, who drove Simply Brilliant to victory in his G3 score in 2019, heads to Happy Valley as the only jockey with a full book of rides and this year will partner the Danny Shum-trained Harmony Victory (129lb), who sets off from gate four in the feature.
“He feels good, he feels as if he is in good form, just the question mark is how he is going to jump from the gate because he’s not the best behaved in the gates – he’s stays in but if he can jump well then I think he is going to run well,” Badel said.
Murray’s Partners aims to keep on rising
The Dennis Yip-trained Murray’s Partners (120lb) has made a remarkable ascent up the handicap since his first win five starts ago and this Wednesday he’ll shoot for a hat-trick of wins in the Class 3 Cleveland Handicap (1800m).
With four wins from his last five starts, the gelding has risen to a rating of 67, 23 points higher than his career-low mark and jockey Karis Teetan has been in the plate for each of his triumphs.
“I’m pretty happy with the way the horse is going, he keeps on improving and things are getting harder for him now, he’ll carry more weight but the horse is in good shape so that’s a good positive sign,” Teetan said.
The gelding won at his first try in Class 3 last time out, and tomorrow night faces 11 opponents including Enrichment (131lb), Arrogant (130lb), last start winner Celestial Power (130lb) and Beauty Angel (121lb).
Wednesday’s nine-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 6.45pm with the Class 5 Paterson Handicap (1200m).