A start in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize for rising star Lucky Bubbles is no certainty despite a big Sprint Cup win yesterday, with trainer Francis Lui Kin-wai to monitor the lightly framed gelding’s weight in the lead-up to the highly anticipated feature.
Lucky Bubbles was spectacular in winning the Group Two at Sha Tin, but after an arduous season so far and two standout performances in the space of two weeks, Lui and jockey Brett Prebble are both mindful of the four-year-old’s recovery in the coming weeks.
“I was a bit worried before today because his body weight was down 10 pounds on his last start and more than 20 pounds from earlier in the season, so we will have to see how he is after that run today,” said Lui, whose horse produced an electric turn of foot to outsprint race favourite and runner-up Amazing Kids.
Prebble has long maintained that the key factor in Lucky Bubbles’ possible progression to top-flight sprinting might be some extra muscle and backed Lui’s cautious outlook.
“There’s four weeks before that race but he will need every bit of it,” Prebble said. “He is fragile and with those two big runs, maybe that is his season finished, but Francis will be guided by how he eats and how he recovers. The horse is already light so if he doesn’t pull up well and eat up, then he can’t be at his best. If he is healthy he will turn up, but you don’t want them losing weight every time they race.”
Prebble had predicted that rival jockey Joao Moreira would attempt to gain a one-off position on Amazing Kids and force Lucky Bubbles forward or wide, but when that didn’t eventuate, and there was a better-than-expected speed up front with owner mates Rad and Dundonnell setting a cracking tempo, the eventual winner ended up positioned perfectly outside the race favourite.
“I wanted to keep Amazing Kids there as long as possible, too, that was my intention,” Prebble said. “But in the end I was just travelling too well and went for home - I didn’t have to keep him pocketed, I had him beat so I put the sword to him. It was an awesome feeling, just how low down he gets and how long his stride is.”
If Lucky Bubbles does press on to the international Group One next start, he will be thrown in the deepest of deep ends against one of the best sprint fields assembled at Sha Tin in recent times.
Aerovelocity, Peniaphobia, Gold-Fun and Not Listenin’tome were missing yesterday and they are likely to be joined on May 1 by Australian stars Buffering and Chautauqua in what looms as a cracking contest.
Prebble has never hidden his admiration for Lucky Bubbles, predicting he would be a Group horse after a Class Three win first-up this season, and the jockey labelled yesterday’s demolition a career-best.
“The horse was a lot fitter today,” he said. “He is an exciting prospect.