Rich Tapestry takes a red-eye to Japan early tomorrow and jockey Brett Prebble wishes he was joining him after partnering Michael Chang Chun-wai’s globetrotter in an impressive turf workout this morning.
“He is flying,” Prebble said after the eight-year-old ripped through a pre-dawn gallop on the main grass at Sha Tin.
“I jumped off and had a joke with Michael, I said: ‘That’s it, I’m coming’. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way.”
Prebble was initially offered the ride on Rich Tapestry in the Group One Sprinters Stakes on Sunday week but was unable to commit due to his association with Lucky Nine, whose trainer Caspar Fownes was at the time also eyeing a start in the Nakayama sprint.
A sub-par trial last Friday forced Fownes to cancel Lucky Nine’s plans and left Prebble without a ride, but in the meantime Chang jumped at the chance to book Japanese-based Frenchman Christophe Lemaire to ride Rich Tapestry.
“It’s a funny game, if that was the type of feel Lucky Nine had given me in his trial, then he would be going,” said Prebble.
“But that’s the way it goes and good luck to Michael and the connections. I didn’t mind helping them out.
“They have got him in absolute top form. He is clearly a great dirt horse and he will need to run the race of his life on the turf, but if he takes what I felt from him this morning and brings it on raceday, he’ll be running in the first three – that’s how good he is going.”
Rich Tapestry has made his name on non-turf surfaces overseas – most notably his famous victory in the Grade One Santa Anita Sprint Championship nearly 12 months ago, but has won a Group Two on turf at home and Chang’s belief in his horse on turf seems to be growing by the day.
“We are very happy with him,” Chang said. “It was a good test this morning and he trialled well last week. The horse is ready and if he draws a good gate we can go very close.”
Rich Tapestry departs on his four-hour flight to Tokyo at 1am tomorrow morning and will spend seven days at the quarantine stables before heading to Nakayama racecourse for the final few days of his preparation.
“That gives us 10 days in Japan and he will gallop with Christophe on the Thursday before the race,” Chang said.