Jockey Brett Prebble concedes that Sunday’s (27 May) G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) shapes as D-day for Lucky Bubbles as the Group 1 winner looks to return to the winners’ circle for the first time this season.
“He should be winning, shouldn’t he? On his form, he’s got a good gate (three), there’s a fast horse in there who should lead at a quick tempo; there are plenty of ticks there,” Prebble said at Sha Tin on Friday morning (25 May). “If he doesn’t put his hand up now and have a bit of a kill, it’s only going to be a slippery slide from there.”
The Francis Lui-trained Lucky Bubbles returned from a three-month break to defend his title in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) on 29 April. In the end, he could not retain the crown, finishing fifth to Ivictory.
“It was probably a bit below par,” Prebble admitted. “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 probably the best horses we’ve got, and he had a couple of excuses.
“He got 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.”
That last run was the first time that Prebble had ridden Lucky Bubbles in over a year; the Australian rider had partnered the Sebring six-year-old at his first 16 Hong Kong starts before Hugh Bowman took the reins for his Chairman’s Sprint Prize victory.
“He definitely didn’t feel the same horse that he used to, but he’s got older and he’s probably got a few niggles,” Prebble said. “His action felt comfortable, though, 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.”