Lucky Bubbles’ attempt to win the G1 Sprinters Stakes (1200m) ended before the field turned for home on a wet and dismal afternoon at Nakayama Racecourse, Sunday, 30 September. Hong Kong’s raider sustained an injury low down in his near fore leg.
Jockey Brett Prebble eased the chestnut to a stop beneath the stands’ side rail, a short way into the straight. No sooner had the rider jumped off than ground staff arrived to assist; by the time Prebble had removed the saddle, a vet was on the scene; Lucky Bubbles walked onto the equine ambulance. A suspensory ligament tear was later identified.
“He broke down. I was following the winner and he was going to have every conceivable chance. Something went pop, which wasn’t a nice thing to hear,” the rider said as he trudged to the weighing room.
With the dream of a second G1 win over, trainer Francis Lui’s concern turned solely to the wellbeing of his stable star. Lucky Bubbles had proven to be among the best speedsters in Asia, if not the world, when successful in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in May, 2017.
Lui remained close to the Sebring seven-year-old while vets attended him at the racecourse hospital.
“Lucky Bubbles will recover but the vets said that he will not be able to race again. He’ll stay here for 10 days and the vets will assess how he is before he returns to Hong Kong,” Lui said.
Lucky Bubbles was tracking race favourite Fine Needle when misfortune struck. The Godolphin horse powered wide up the Nakayama hill to land the prize by a neck under Yuga Kawada; the three-year-old filly Love Kampf was second, a half-length ahead of Rhein Spirit.