Prebble chipping away
A double for Brett Prebble has done little to help the Australian ace start making a meaningful dent in Douglas Whyte's jockeys' premiership lead, which stood at 19 wins prior to yesterday's meeting.
Whyte was out, serving the first of a four-meeting careless riding suspension, but despite Prebble bagging a double, the Australian will only gain one win back on the premiership margin - with news that this week's Shahjee disqualification will not be appealed as previously advised.
That result will credit one more win to the South African, who finished second on Adoration in the race in question, taking the premiership leader to 82 victories.
However, nothing could dampen Prebble's spirits after winning the last on backmarker Flying China for retiring trainer Alex Wong Yu-on, and earlier lifting Mustang to an overdue win for trainer David Hall.
'Before the race Alex was asking me if I thought it would be better to come to the outside on Flying China or try to ride for luck up the rail,' Prebble said.
'I said I'd have to wait and see how the race was shaping up at the turn, but as soon as we stepped onto the track you could feel the outside was harder and faster than the inside, so I made up my mind then and there that we'd be coming to centre of the track.'
Flying China dropped to his customary position at the rear before charging over the top of his rivals to nail Jimson The Best by a neck at the finish of the Parrot Handicap (1,650 metres).
'The way he races, that's the sort of dirt bias he needs, and it was a good genuine tempo which also favours him,' Prebble said.
'I got a good cart into the race behind Jimson The Best and we just mowed him down. He's an honest horse, but he just needs every bit of luck the way he races.'
Prebble also had to work hard to drive Mustang to a neck victory over Hey Ha Master and Successful Era in the Swan Handicap (1,400m) and relished the maiden victory, which was taken away from the pair on protest earlier in the season.
'Mustang also deserved the win. We lost one on protest earlier in the season and it has been a long time coming to get another,' Prebble said.
'With the time off before this race, I was just worried he lacked that fraction of a fitness edge that his rivals had, but he was tough - 250 metres out I had already asked him for his effort and he was quite strong in the finish actually,' Prebble said.
'I said to David Hall after the race that with no weight he might even sneak away with another win in Class Four with an apprentice on.
'I don't think the freshness or the pacifiers made that much difference. I think it has been more a mental change with him.'