Sound-again Tchaikovsky makes some sweet music
Sprinter returns from bleeding attack in style
Brett Prebble quietly wondered last night just how awesome a fully sound Tchaikovsky might have been after the Snippets gelding returned to competition with a typically brave win that will send him to the cusp of Class One.
It was celebrations all round after Tchaikovsky, starting at 11-1, held off Douglas Whyte on High Point and Darren Beadman on favourite One World to win the Sha Tin Racecourse 30th Anniversary Cup (1,200m).
Tchaikovsky is owned by Sidney Chiu Yung-sit, described by Prebble as 'a champion owner'.
Chiu names all his gallopers after famous composers and musicians, with perhaps his best-known horse being the former Derby contender Beethoven.
Tchaikovsky, who came to Hong Kong with David Hayes, but transferred to David Hall after Hayes' return to Australia in 2005, was resuming from the automatic ban incurred from a bleeding attack in February.
Prebble said, however, he had the utmost confidence that Hall had the seven-year-old right again.
'I was never concerned about the possibility of him bleeding a second time because the horse has never been sounder since David has had him,' the jockey said.
'At the end of his last preparation, he wasn't entirely comfortable and, in my opinion, it was the stress created by his leg issues that caused him to have the bleed. But David has done a wonderful job to get him back in this sort of form. His action hasn't been this good since he was a young horse, and you couldn't ask a horse to trial better than he did here two weeks ago.'
Tchaikovsky has now won eight races, from just 30 starts, and banked almost HK$6 million in prize money, but having won this Class Two race, off a rating of 94, he will probably be a 100 horse after handicapper Nigel Gray takes the marker pen to him this morning.
'In this sort of form, I don't think he's finished yet,' Prebble continued. 'My guess is that David will wait around for a month or so and give him another race. Spacing his runs like that, I can't see any reason why he wouldn't hold his form.
'It makes you wonder, though, just how good he might have been had he been totally sound.'
The other key ingredient in the win was Hall's decision to remove the blinkers from Tchaikovsky's racing gear.
'It was something David and I discussed at length,' Prebble said. 'Tchaikovsky has tended to get a bit nervous and excited before his races and, having had the bleed last season, we were keen to do what we could to help him relax more.
'He's a free-running horse anyway so I didn't think he really needed the blinkers to make him concentrate. But having them off today worked perfectly.
'He went forward and settled beautifully for me when those two leaders [My Time and Team Work] went out at a fast pace.
'By the time he had to do his own bit of work at the top of the straight, he'd had a nice, soft run and had plenty left in the tank.'
High Point ran a solid race to close late and get within a short head of Tchaikovsky, with One World just peaking on his run to wind up a close third, ahead of the impressive Deferential (Olivier Doleuze).
Beadman felt there is improvement still to come from One World, who was also having his first run for the season after winning five from 11 as a two and three-year-old.
'I didn't think he trialled quite as well as he had when at his top last season, so to run as well as he did was encouraging,' Beadman said.
'He's a colt and still quite round, so he should improve with that run under his belt.'