03 Apr 2016 |
Lucky Bubbles has long had the look of a top-class sprinter in the making and Francis Lui’s charge is not far off the finished article judged on his demolition of a smart field in this afternoon’s (3 April) HKG2 Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin racecourse.
“That was awesome,” said a jubilant Brett Prebble in the aftermath of an exhilarating two-length triumph that puts the four-year-old in the frame for next month’s G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize at the course and distance.
Lucky Bubbles enjoyed a smooth passage – parked in third outside fellow rising star Amazing Kids – as Rad set the pace ahead of Dundonnell. Prebble was happy to allow that pair some rope until the turn for home, by which point Lucky Bubbles was purring upsides. With a little less than two furlongs to race, the Australian ace shook the reins and the response was decisive. Lucky Bubbles accelerated, quickly put two lengths on his pursuers and maintained that superiority to register a winning time of 1m 08.36s.
“When I put him down, his stride – he just lengthened so much further than I’d felt him do for a long time,” said Prebble. “For a little horse he just covers so much ground. That’s probably why he’s so good – his stride is so much longer than other horses.
“He was just gone, he was awesome. I’ve been very fortunate to ride some very good sprinters in my time and he’s coming along, I’ll tell you. For a young horse, the way he does it, he does it at the front end and then he shows that turn of foot at the back end. It’s hard for them to do that at both ends of the race.”
The John Size-trained Amazing Kids was unable to match Lucky Bubbles’ kick and kept on for second, a neck ahead of Ricky Yiu’s talented young gun, Packing Pins. Divine Boy was a further two lengths away in fourth. Lucky Bubbles clocked a closing 400m of 21.80s against Amazing Kids’ 21.90s.
Prebble has never hidden his regard for the Lui trainee who was winning his fifth of 10 Hong Kong starts. Two runs back the Sebring chestnut found trouble in running when second behind Amazing Kids and the jockey was keen to avoid a similar scenario.
“I was happy to see Amazing Kids inside me this time and he was going to stay there for a little bit, too, but I had that much horse under me I thought ‘I’m not going to wait and keep him in a pocket’. I could feel I had a real turn-of-foot underneath me and so I didn’t think he’d come with me,” said the ever-present Prebble.
“My horse put himself there, he chased the fast speed again today – it obviously suits him but he’s still got to be there and doing it. He’s exciting and this is what we strive for every morning to go and find. It’s just a great feeling.”
Lucky Bubbles is not the biggest and Lui has given his charge time to develop through the grades. Today’s win came off only a two-week back-up, the gelding having scored a Class 1 win on 20 March.
“I was a little bit worried because he has never had such a quick back-up and he lost 10lb but he was ok. Now he has a month break to the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, so that should be ideal. Hopefully he can measure up against those older Group 1 horses but he is a classy runner,” said the trainer.
“He has lived up to our expectations all along and hopefully he can win the Chairman’s Sprint Prize. It will be a tough test but I hope he can further improve and prove to be a Group 1 sprinter going forward.”