Japan-bound frequent flier Lucky Nine will be given an easy time in a Sha Tin all-weather track trial this morning, with the tough sprinter scheduled for a more searching workout closer to his departure date, trainer Caspar Fownes giving his stable star a clean bill of health after a recent scare.
Fownes was forced to rework Lucky Nine's preparation for the Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama on September 29 after the five-year-old was withdrawn from a trial last week due to inappetence.
"He looks well, he is eating up and his blood is fine," assured Fownes, who took the five-year-old overseas three times last season.
"He won't be severely pushed in the trial, it will all be on the bridle and he will just be allowed to run along under his own steam. Just before he leaves we will get a bit more serious."
Lucky Nine will leave on September 20, two days after another trial on the dirt, and nine days after fellow traveller Little Bridge, his trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing preferring to replicate the early arrival of his successful Royal Ascot raid.
"It would have been nice to have some company for him," said Fownes. "But Danny has his way, which has worked for him, and I've got mine."
Little Bridge, who trialled at last Saturday's pre-season carnival, will be joined in Japan by Shum on the 17th.
Jockey Zac Purton suggested after Little Bridge's first trial that the gelding was underdone, but Shum said another piece of hard work over the weekend would have his six-year-old up to the mark.