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Lucky Nine lands the prize in KrisFlyer
Craig Brennan
19/05/2013

 

Hong Kong galloper Lucky Nine finally secured an International Group 1 win on foreign soil when successful in the $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint, the fourth Leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, over 1200m on Sunday night.
 
Ridden by Brett Prebble, Lucky Nine ($27) scored a soft three-length victory from Bel Sprinter (Hugh Bowman) with the $16 favourite Super Easy (Joao Moreira) a head away in third position.
 
Lucky Nine recorded a winning time of 1 min 08.71 secs, 0.97 secs outside of the record set by Sacred Kingdom when taking out the 2009 KrisFlyer.


Jockey Brett Prebble celebrates his win aboard Lucky Nine in the KrisFlyer International Sprint.

Prepared by Caspar Fownes, Lucky Nine was successful in International Group 1 company in the 2011 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin and has been a regular visitor to Japan, twice for the Sprinters Stakes over 1200m and once for the Yasuda Kinen over 1600m.
 
Bad luck in running had cost Lucky Nine on previous overseas visits but there were no such problems on Sunday night when the gelding was one of the quickest to begin before enjoying the run of the race, third on the fence.
 
Goal Keeper (Danny Beasley) and Emerald Hill (Jose Verenzuela) led the way from Lucky Nine and Mr Big (Corey Brown) with Super Easy and Dasher Go Go (Umberto Rispoli) next in line.
 
Coming to the turn Prebble began to edge off the fence to give himself plenty of clear galloping room. On balancing up for the run home Prebble pressed the button and Lucky Nine quickly assumed control of the race from a tiring Goal Keeper and Emerald Hill.
 
Bel Sprinter, which had been slow to begin and settled with the tailenders, got out wide and was putting in the big strides, but couldn’t peg back the winner. Super Easy was out into the clear in plenty of time and looked a big hope with 200m to run, but in the end couldn’t finish the race off.
 
Balmont Mast was also well back in the ruck when the field turned for home before rattling home towards the inside and just missing the minor money.
 
Fownes said Lucky Nine deserved his success on foreign soil after having little luck on previous visits overseas.
 
“We saw the real Lucky Nine tonight,” said Fownes. “He’s been unlucky overseas on a number of occasions previously so it was great to see everything fall into place.
 
“Brett got him into a lovely position in the race and he was also strong to the line.”
 
Lucky Nine who was successful three starts ago in Hong Kong over 1200m on February 17 had since disappointed with two unplaced performances over 1400m and 1200m respectively.
 
However after his last start seventh in Group 2 grade on April 28, Lucky Nine returned with blood in his trachea which placed Fownes under pressure to have him at his top for Sunday's race.
 
“The pressure on me after his last run where he had blood in his trachea was quite heavy,” said Fownes. “Having to travel him here and then get him to perform at his top, the pressure was right on.
 
“This means a lot to us to come here and win on international soil. We’ll put him away now and we’ll look forward to the next season.


The winning team: Jockey Brett Prebble, trainer Caspar Fownes, owners Dr Chang Fuk To and
Maria Chang.


“It’s always great coming to Singapore. They love their racing just as we do in Hong Kong and it is a great feeling to win a race like this.”
 
It was Fownes’ second victory in the KrisFlyer. He was successful in 2010 with Green Birdie, ridden by Mark du Plessis.
 
Prebble, who won the 2009 edition with Sacred Kingdom, was over the moon with the win having said he should have partnered Green Birdie to success three years ago.
 
“This win is more special than when I won on Sacred Kingdom,” said Prebble. “I should have partnered Green Birdie for Caspar but I was in a battle for the Jockey’s Premiership with Douglas Whyte at the time and decided to stay home.
 
“Coming to someone else’s backyard to win a race like this is something special.
 
“Tonight this horse brought his A Game to Singapore. He got away keenly and wasn’t upset at all at the start even when that horse (Dasher Go Go) played up out wide.
 
“With the way he was in gates and the way he jumped my confidence level went from six to 10 straight away.
 
“He was a little put off by the mobile camera on the inside at the first turn but he eventually relaxed and we were able to save ourselves for the straight.
 
“He was really positive tonight and when he got to the front I knew then that they wouldn’t be able to run me down.”
 
Australian trainer Jason Warren was delighted with the performance of the runner-up Bel Sprinter who was on his first trip overseas.
 
“It got a bit rough around the corner, but he still did a super job to run second,” said Warren.
 
“I thought he hit the line enormous. I’m very proud of him.”
 
Moreira, on the favourite, could offer no excuses for Super Easy after he had a terrific run in transit.
 
“No excuses, he had every chance, but the winner was too good,” said Moreira. “When we turned for home, he was travelling so well that I really thought we had a good chance, but it wasn’t to be.
 
“I came here trying to win the race, but we ended up running third. It’s disappointing, but I’m still glad with his run.”