Top jockey Brett Prebble believes the presence of exciting three-year-old Amber Sky can only help the chances of Lucky Nine in the Kent & Curwen Centenary Sprint Cup on Sunday.
Looking for his fourth Group One win, the Caspar Fownes-trained Lucky Nine was a straight-course winner in Ireland as a young horse but has only tried the straight here once, when sixth in last year's edition of the race behind Eagle Regiment.
In what was a fairly muddling-run affair, Lucky Nine got strung up behind horses during the final 300m and the run was best forgotten, but Prebble is expecting a truer tempo to play into his hands this weekend.
"He's a sprinter who gets 1,600m so the 1,000m is definitely a bit on the short side of his perfect distance, and I need the leaders to be coming back to me and running their worst quarter as their last quarter. I can see a bit of pressure there on Sunday," he said. "With a speed horse like Amber Sky in the race, I think they'll be rolling along up front and not just him but Go Baby Go, who went with him the other day when he beat Amber Sky. The faster the better for Lucky Nine because I know he's going to be the strong one at the finish."
The gelding is among eight Centenary Sprint runners also entered for the two sprint events at the Dubai World Cup in March, with Eagle Regiment and Joy And Fun holding entries for the Alquoz Sprint over a straight 1,000m, and Lucky Nine is one of six with nominations for the Golden Shaheen over 1,200m on the Tapeta surface, a race in which he ran third from a wide draw last year.
"Caspar hasn't spoken to me about whether Dubai's on the schedule again but he ran terrific last year with no luck. It would be a great race for him if he could draw a gate - which he hasn't had much luck with in these big ones overseas - and the horse feels fantastic in himself," Prebble said.
"Caspar has kept him fresh for the short race on the weekend but he feels very sharp and he's a happy horse - he was just bouncing when he came off the track the other morning. And his action is fantastic so he's in perfect shape."