Brett Prebble believes Lucky Bubbles needs to stand up and be counted in Sunday’s Group Three Sha Tin Vase (1,200m).
This is the Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained six-year-old’s easiest assignment since winning last year’s Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize and the Australian jockey expects him to be in the finish.
“He should be winning, shouldn’t he? He’s got a good gate, he’s got a bunny who will run along in front – there are plenty of ticks there,” Prebble said.
“If he doesn’t put his hand up now and go and have a bit of a kill, it’s only going to be a slippery slide.”
Last start, Lucky Bubbles came fifth in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, finishing five-and-a-half lengths behind Ivictory but Prebble expects him to take improvement from that run, which was his first run for three months.
“It was probably a bit below par,” he said. “He’d obviously had a decent break and he was coming back off that lay-off and he was racing horses that had been up all season and were very fit. It was a decent field that time, it was very strong – probably the best horses we’ve got.
“He got a little bit of a check just on straightening when Mr Stunning came out underneath his neck, which stopped his momentum, and he got a little bit tired late so I think he’ll definitely come on for that run.
“He definitely didn’t feel the same horse that he used to, but he’s got older and he’s probably carrying a few issues. His action felt comfortable, he pulled up clean and he’s been very well since that.
“We gave him a nice blow in his trial recently – when I pushed the button, he extended well the last 150m and that was a positive sign.”
Prebble will partner Exultant in the Group One Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) after riding him over 2,200m two starts back.
Tony Cruz’s four-year-old won the Group Three Queen Mother Memorial Cup (2,400m) last start and it didn’t surprise the jockey that he relished the extra distance.
“After I got off him, I thought he was crying for the 2,400m or even the 3,200m,” Prebble said.
“He’s a genuine stayer with very good ability. The 2,000m is probably a little bit sharp for him so I’m looking forward to getting on him over the 2,400m and it will be a very interesting race.
“Obviously there are only a few runners but there are some serious horses in it. From [barrier] one, I could see myself ending up in the box seat and enjoying the run of the race, but with only five runners, anything could happen.”