'Fresh' Prebble back with a vengeance
It isn't a tag that he's yearning to take on full time, but Brett Prebble returned from a ban as the King Of Class Five yesterday, landing his first two rides back from a careless-riding suspension.
Prebble lined up the two lowest grade races of the day to make his greatest impact on the meeting with Fantastic Time for Peter Ng Bik-kuen in the second, soon followed by Michael Chan Chun-wai-trained Tremendous Plus 30 minutes later.
'Obviously I go well fresh,' beamed Prebble, whose ban had enabled him to spend Christmas in Australia with family and friends in somewhat warmer weather than is current in Hong Kong.
'The break was nice but it's nice to be back riding winners - little fish were sweet today. I'd rather be King Of Group One, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.'
Prebble said his second winner, Tremendous Plus, might well handle himself in Class Four the way he's going, and made light work of yesterday's affair even with 132 pounds.
'We know the horse has had issues but Michael's got him very sound, and as long as he stays sound I do think he's up to Class Four,' Prebble said.
'He did that fairly comfortably today, so Class Four with a light weight he should be a chance again.'
For the connections of Fantastic Time, Prebble also had some words of encouragement for the future after the gelding's maiden victory. 'I was a bit lucky to get in from the wide gate, but I wanted to be handy and not have to give them too much start because he's still physically weak and can't give away a big start and win,' Prebble said.
'In some ways he's more like a filly than a male horse. He's got some height but he hasn't filled out and if he does he's going to be a better horse.
'He actually wants further than the 1,400m of today's race in terms of the style of racehorse he is, but until he strengthens up he isn't going to run the longer distance out strongly.'
Prebble was not the only one to return in winning style, with apprentice Derek Leung Ka-chun also bouncing back from a holiday with the first winner, Beautiful Choice. Leung was making his first appearance since November 30 after serving out a ban for failing to ride Salut Beaute to the line and costing the horse second placing, but returned smiling after a perfect opening ride for trainer Me Tsui Yu-sak.
While Prebble and Leung resumed on a winning note, the fresh casualty was Olivier Doleuze. The Frenchman was found guilty of careless riding for not straightening Gallant Lion in the final stages of the main race, causing Fellowship (Zac Purton) to lose his rightful running and be checked.
Doleuze was suspended for two days, but there was no monetary fine. He will miss the meetings of January 10 and 14.