Jockey Brett Prebble obviously has a good opinion of Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained Noble Steed and the International Sale Griffin joins the list of black bookers after Saturday’s racing at Sha Tin.
Since Kei Chiong Ka-kei rode Noble Steed in a piece of work on June 1, only Prebble had been aboard the gelding in his serious work or in four barrier trials.
That focus on the horse says volumes for what Prebble must think about the four-year-old and his judgment looks spot on after an eye-catching debut.
In all of his barrier trials, Noble Steed was ridden quietly back in the field and worked home to the line without being put under full pressure, so he was difficult to gauge except to say there was more to come.
His breeding said that he was not a speed horse, so it was no surprise that Eighty Eighty and the heavily backed winner, Sparkling Dragon, were preferred in the betting on Saturday and proved too sharp.
Both the winner and the unlucky Eighty Eighty ran well – and the runner-up won’t have lost any admirers despite his defeat – and they look highly progressive but Noble Steed also looks promising.
He is by Street Cry, whose stock have mostly been at their best over ground, from a mare by Dash For Cash, a miler so what turned out a slowly run sprint home over 1,200m was not going to be the ideal for Noble Steed.
In addition, we’ve seen consistently that the ISG horses get better with time and with more experience, but a first win doesn’t appear to be far away for Noble Steed.
You had to like how he went about getting to the line once he got wound up for Prebble, grabbing the minor place over a line-up of more experienced horses and running one of the best final 400m sectionals of the afternoon.
Lui will surely step up his distance next time or the start after and, when he gets to a mile, Noble Steed is going to look a very smart horse indeed. Class Four won’t hold him for long and he won’t have much trouble in Class Three, either.