Laying Down The Lor For The 147th BMW Hong Kong Derby

Sha Tin's first due off @ 06h45 on Sunday

Sometimes longshots prevail in the big time.

Last year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby is a testament to that when Voyage Bubble won at odds of 45/1, and trainer Frankie Lor is hoping this Sunday is one of those days when he saddles Unbelievable in the 147th running of the city’s supreme four-year-old test at Sha Tin.

Unbelievable, formerly known as Bertinelli for trainer Aidan O’Brien, is inexperienced in Hong Kong following two unplaced outings.

 

Unbelievable is yet to win in Hong Kong (Pic – HKJC)

He finished eighth in the Hong Kong Classic Cup last start, although his form prior to arriving in the Far East was strong, defeating subsequent Group 1 place-getter Desert Hero and the Group 2-winning Bold Act in the 2023 London Gold Cup at Newbury.

“He’s improved but he isn’t at his top form. I’ve always said there just hasn’t been enough time for him, more time would have been much better.

“He has a quality, so we’ll see. He’ll step up to 2400 metres after this race, it should be no problem for him. We’ll see how he runs this Sunday,” Lor said.

The colt is by Justify and out of the mare Together Forever. He is a full brother to Europe’s hottest three-year-old, the undefeated City Of Troy, who is trained by O’Brien.

“It’s hard to say how Unbelievable will go but I hope he can run a good race for me. Sometimes, you need to prepare a horse but the timing isn’t always that good. It was a little bit of a rush and he had a small issue,” Lor said.

Unbelievable drew barrier eight for the HK$26 million contest. He will be partnered by Harry Bentley this weekend.

“I think barrier eight is ok for him because he is a big horse – I just want him to jump out and keep on rolling. He is a big horse with a big stride, so it would be difficult to move him out if he had drawn an inside gate,” Lor said.

The chestnut is one of three American-bred horses in the race along with Chancheng Glory and Ensued. He is raced by the 23/24 Frankie Lor Fu Chuen Trainer Syndicate.

“I put Harry Bentley on last week in the trial, so at least he knows the horse and he felt that way after the trial.

“Of course, I am excited even though he is not in top form. I think he will run a good race, last time, his second start in Hong Kong he was only beaten by four or five lengths, so at this moment, the distance this weekend is more suitable for him and later on he can go up to 2400 metres – that should be no problem,” Lor said.

Lor has enjoyed significant success in the three-race Four-Year-Old Classic Series. He won two legs in 2019 – the BMW Hong Kong Derby and Hong Kong Classic Mile with Furore, while he has a pair of wins in the Hong Kong Classic Cup thanks to Mission Tycoon (2019) and Healthy Happy (2021).

“That season (2019) I won the Classic Mile, Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby. I was very happy. We need luck this weekend,” he said.

Sunday’s 10-race fixture at Sha Tin commences at 06h00 with the Class 4 Furore Handicap.

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