Prebble edging closer to old mark
While the jockeys' championship has had none of last year's thrilling rollercoaster ride to an outcome that was never certain until the final day, the main protagonists can lay claim to having performed even better this time around and Brett Prebble's three-timer yesterday took him close to confirming it.
Douglas Whyte is already well past the 91 wins that scored him the championship in 2007, but Prebble, who finished with 81 wins last year, is also getting close to eclipsing that 'personal best' this term.
Twin victories for David Hall on Bravo Bravo and Ankh Morpork built on a solid start in the second with Majestic Heart for Manfred Man Ka-leung, with Prebble's tally now 78.
'It's ironic that I could end up with a better result than last year. I was jumping on and off more horses last year than I ever have in my life and pulling out all the stops, doing whatever I could to try to win the championship and the strain of it sent me off to the summer break exhausted,' Prebble said. 'This season I've taken it easier and tried to do more work on helping trainers to target horses for their races and it seems to have worked out at least as well and without the stress.'
The Ankh Morpork win saw him coming back in distance from 1,800m last start, despite his form in Australia having seen him tried right up to the 2,500m of the Victoria Derby.
'It happens everywhere that horses are three-year-olds and get tried as stayers for the sake of classic races because you only get one chance,' said Hall.
'But I don't think Ankh Morpork stays at all. You might think from his pedigree that he might stay but he isn't shaped like a stayer and I believe he was better suited coming back to the mile today. This is going to be his best distance.'
Bravo Bravo also promises more fun after taking his second victory from six starts under topweight in the Class Four over 1,200m yesterday and it hasn't all been plain sailing for the gelding.
'He had a tendon problem after winning in November and took some time to get over it but he has always shown some potential. He probably did just need the race when he ran at 1,400 metres first-up and got tired,' Hall said.
'I brought him back to 1,200 metres because he's been going quite keenly in his work and the faster tempo of the shorter race would help to overcome that. As it turned out, the pace suited him.'
The double for Hall equalled his previous best of 39 wins and one more would see the Australian's trend of improving each season continue.