Prebble's early winners classic case study in the benefit of hard work
Top jockey Brett Prebble mused on the time that horses can take to find themselves after an early double that at least gave Douglas Whyte pause for thought in the Jockey Challenge.
Prebble was sent off favourite to dominate the day's proceedings and backers were on good terms with themselves, at least for the first half of the meeting, as the Australian landed Namjong Sky for David Hall and The Only Kid for Francis Lui Kin-wai in the second and third events.
'It's amazing. It seems like I've been riding The Only Kid for probably 18 months - ever since he got here anyway - and he's always shown a lot in his work,' Prebble said.
'And it's only now that he feels like he's starting to put it together and show the same in his races.
'Still today, when he came out and hit the front, he floated a bit so even when the race was won, I made sure I rode him right down to the line and even a little bit past it so he knows next time that is what he is supposed to do.'
Hall and Prebble said Namjong Sky was in much the same boat as The Only Kid, having shown a lot more in his trackwork for a long time before finally putting the runs on the board.
'It can just take them so long to settle down in themselves and until they do, you just aren't going to see their real ability,' Prebble said.
'They'll show you something in trackwork, but come raceday they don't back it up until their minds are right and that's why Namjong Sky's turned the corner this season.'
The victory yesterday was Namjong Sky's third this campaign, but only the second for which his connections will get paid as he was coming off a positive drug test finding of omeprazole and its metabolite after his most recent victory back on October 1.
That led to a disqualification from that race, loss of the winning prize money and a HK$75,000 fine for Hall, so Namjong Sky had a bit of squaring up to do yesterday.
But he also lost the handicap rating points he had been penalised for that win, so he was back on his winning rating and it almost looked like a replay as he gave backers no grey hairs in transit.
'He's doing everything right now, [he's] much happier in himself and I'm thinking he'll be pretty competitive in Class Four next time now that he's on that path,' said Hall.