It is all systems go for Lucky Bubbles’ trip to Japan after the Group One winner took out a barrier trial at Sha Tin on Friday morning.
The Francis Lui Kin-wai-trained seven-year-old looked a different horse compared to his hit-out 10 days ago, bouncing strongly from the gates and holding off dirt specialist Pick Number One in the run to the line.
Lucky Bubbles looked sluggish in his first trial of the season on September 4, putting some doubt over his assault on the Group One Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama, but the trainer confirmed he will be racing on September 30.
“We’ll go to Japan now,” Lui said.
“It was a lot better, this trial I was happy with. He is getting older now so he takes a little longer to get going.
“The trial should bring him on in condition and hopefully he can travel over well.”
While Brett Prebble is booked to ride in Japan, Keith Yeung Ming-lun was aboard for both trials and thought there was a significant difference between the two.
“He felt a lot better today, the last time going into the trial there was something wrong with him – he just couldn’t stretch out and his action felt awkward,” Yeung said.
“Francis gave him some treatment and he responded to it. He showed some good speed today and he managed to keep it to the line.
“He still has a bit to go in terms of fitness, but at least he’s sound, he’s happy and he’s competitive.”
Lucky Bubbles won the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize in 2017, but struggled to match it with the elite speedsters in Hong Kong last season.
He finished off the term with a strong third in the Group Three Premier Cup, encouraging connections to continue on and they settled on the Sprinters Stakes as a suitable target.
Lucky Bubbles is the only international entered for the HK$16.7 million feature and is set to come up against a group of locals led by Fine Needle (who finished fourth in the 2018 Chairman’s Sprint Prize), Red Falx and Let’s Go Donki (sixth in the 2017 Hong Kong Sprint).