Jockey sings Hall's praises for 'wonderful job' on Absolute Champion Brett Prebble and David Hall showed the mutual respect which makes them such a deadly combination after Absolute Champion had dealt a knockout blow to Sacred Kingdom's triple-crown prospects in yesterday's rematch of the Hong Kong Sprint quinella. Prebble turned in a peerless performance to make Absolute Champion draw on unseen energy reserves to take the Group One Centenary Sprint Cup in a photo finish, which would have made for even greater racing theatre had Sacred Kingdom not been an overwhelming $11 (for $10) favourite that effectively stifled betting. But even in the wake of this dazzling victory - Absolute Champion's third at racing's highest level - Prebble chose to deflect the spotlight squarely on to Hall for what he described as 'an incredible training performance'. 'Truly, mine was the easy part, to ride him on race day,' Prebble said. 'David has been the one with the tough job. The horse's feet haven't been right and David has done a wonderful job to not only get him to the race, but in this sort of form. 'He's a terrific horse, a real character, and you can tell when you're riding him just how he's going to perform. Today, he was on the job from the second they jumped - I honestly could have led on him. 'But I wanted to wait with him, so I cut across and sat on the back of Sacred Kingdom - that was where I wanted to be. Although I was basically back last, I knew I was going to win from the 600 metres.' Prebble said that when Absolute Champion annihilated Silent Witness in the Hong Kong Sprint of 2006, he felt much the same way he did yesterday. 'That day, he just took me into the race and felt enormous,' the jockey added. 'He was going to do the same in the Hong Kong Sprint last month, but didn't let down the same - I'd say his feet might have been worrying him even then. But today, he was really enjoying it and when we got up close to Sacred Kingdom, I knew we'd beat him. This horse is too tough, he doesn't lose photos.' Hall, who gained a Hong Kong licence as a result of his superb training performance to land the 2003 Melbourne Cup with Makybe Diva, was unaware of Prebble's generous praise when he spoke in awe-struck tones of the jockey's tactical genius. 'That was just a gem, a perfect ride,' Hall said. 'That race was a good reflection of how much Brett has improved as a jockey since he's been in Hong Kong. He was a top jockey in Melbourne but he's much better now, stronger, more focused, and tactically aware. He's now among the best in the world, which is where he's wanted to be and, to properly compete here, where he needed to be.' Prebble also gave credit to Frenchman Eric Saint-Martin for helping him perfect the subtleties of riding the Sha Tin straight track. 'Eric is a genius at it and rides the straight better than anyone else. I've watched him closely, and learned from him - albeit the hard way,' he added. If any overseas plans existed for Absolute Champion before yesterday, they were definitively binned in the wake of his success in the opening leg of the sprinters' triple crown for 2008. 'We won't be going anywhere,' Hall said. 'The hardest part of the triple crown, for him, is over - winning at 1,000 metres. He'll now be staying right here and concentrating on the second and third legs.' The next goal is the Group One Chairman's Sprint Prize over 1,200 metres on February 17, with the sprinters then being stretched to 1,400 metres for the third leg, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup on Derby day, March 16. Absolute Champion ran second in the opening leg last year, to Scintillation (ridden by Saint-Martin) and won the Chairman's Sprint Prize but then came down with a virus and did not recover in time to contest the Queen's Silver Jubilee.