Brett Prebble is free to ride Lucky Bubbles in next weekend’s Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama despite being outed for 20 meetings for improper riding at Caulfield on Saturday.
The former Hong Kong-based jockey was able to defer the suspension until after the Group One in Japan, allowing him to fulfil his commitment to Francis Lui Kin-wai’s gelding.
Prebble copped the ban for his ride on Cross Legend in the Listed Jim Moloney Stakes, when he repeatedly bumped Krone out of the way to improve his position.
“The improper riding being that near the 800m he rode his mount out from behind Mystic Journey when not entitled to do so, thereby making contact with Krone on a number of occasions resulting in Krone being taken off its course and becoming unbalanced,” the stewards’ report stated.
“In assessing a penalty, stewards took into account the seriousness of the charge however made allowances for the feature meetings he will miss.”
It wasn’t a great birthday present for Prebble, who turns 41 on Sunday, and it continues his tough initiation back to Australian racing – he is yet to place from 12 rides since returning home. He will be out of action from October 1 to 19.
Prebble enjoyed a terrific stint in Hong Kong, one of four jockeys to ever ride 800 winners along with a host of Group Ones.
Man and Moore get off the mark
John Moore and Manfred Man Ka-leung broke their ducks early on the card, leaving just three trainers with zero wins after five meetings.
John Size, Paul O’Sullivan and Michael Chang Chun-wai are the ones still left to record a victory, but they won’t be worried with 83 meetings to go.
Man was particularly impressed with the performance of Regency Darling, who took out the Class Four Houston Handicap (1,200m) thanks to a good ride from the in-form Matthew Chadwick.
“He surprised me a little bit because this morning he was very lazy, but in the race he tried hard,” Man said.
“I think the draw, number one, helped him a lot. I think he can keep improving, [he has] a good handicap. He just needs time to improve.”
Sha Tin gets preference over Morphettville
The Jockey Club’s relationship with Australian media outlet Racing.com got off to a rocky start in 2016, but it looks like things have turned a corner.
On Saturday, Racing.com gave preference to the Sha Tin card ahead of the races from Morphettville on its free-to-air channel when they clashed, forcing punters to switch over to its pay TV station if they wanted to watch the races from Adelaide.
Thanks for pulling the coverage of Melbourne and Adelaide from 68/78 to show us boring races at Hong Kong that nobody cares about. Not impressed, thought you were the home of racing @Globalgallop @Racing @Hkhutchi @JaseRicho— damian hermiona (@damianred91) September 22, 2018
Racing.com cannot show Hong Kong racing on its pay TV channel as Sky has the rights on that platform.
Given the situation, the decision makes sense but it left some who only had access to the free-to-air version upset and they vented on Twitter.
While those punters missed out, it is a win for the Jockey Club as the more eyeballs on racing equals more betting and those benefits go directly to Sports Road, thanks to the commingling pools in Australia.
Lockheed looks ready to deliver on his promise
Lockheed already boasts a Group One third to Churchill on his résumé, but he hasn’t shown his best since arriving in Hong Kong.
That might be set to change after an eye-catching performance down the straight in the Class Three San Francisco Handicap on Saturday.
Danny Shum Chap-shing’s grey four-year-old sprinted strongly from second last to finish third and, given his best trip is probably 1,400m to a mile, he looks ready to make his mark.
If Lockheed has finally acclimatised, he is a horse to follow early this season – particularly if he can have another crack in Class Three.
Western boards the Express train to retirement
Dual Group One runner-up Western Express has run his last race.
The John Size-trained six-year-old was on the Jockey Club’s retirements list on Thursday, with his last run being the Yasuda Kinen in Japan when he finished 10th in June.
He came second to Beauty Generation in both the Hong Kong Mile and the Champions Mile, ending his career with five wins and four placings from 20 Hong Kong starts (and HK$16.6 million in prize money), in addition to his two wins from two starts in Australia when known as Cardless Cash.
Missile hits a target after veering off course
Australian three-year-old Defence Missile had one foot on the plane to Hong Kong last week before a plan to bring him north was scuttled by stringent weight rules.
The Brisbane trained gelding was all but sold to Hong Kong owners for A$350,000 (HK$2 million) after winning at Doomben earlier this month but was unable to travel due to being less than 500 kilograms.
The would-be owners were left to rue what could have been after the Les Ross-trained galloper chalked up another dominant victory on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
The son of Love Conquers All was originally bought for just A$15,000 (HK$85,000).
“Unfortunately, he’s a tiny horse and didn’t make the 500 kgs weight requirement,” Ross said.