2013 Manikato Stakes Target for Hong Kong’s Lucky Nine

Last start Singapore Sprint winner Lucky Nine has entered quarantine and will be ready to debut down under in next month’s Manikato Stakes 2013 according to their Hong Kong-based trainer Casper Fownes.

Fownes is eagerly awaiting the first Australian campaign of his talented Irish-bred Dubawi gelding Lucky Nine who beat home Aussie sprint star Bel Sprinter by three lengths last time out.

Ridden by regular jockey, Aussie expat and reigning Melbourne Cup winning hoop Brett Prebble the Hong Kong star enjoyed a big win in Singapore’s Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) on May 19.

They were turned out for a spell after that big effort, the horse’s fifth elite level title, in preparation for a trip to Oz for the spring.

It’s now all systems go for Lucky Nine, who also won February’s Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin, who went into quarantine on Wednesday back home preparing for their big flight which Fownes is not at all nervous about.

“He just seems to enjoy getting on a plane and getting out of Hong Kong,” Fownes said on RSN’s Racing Ahead.

“He’s a bit of a character, he enjoys travelling, he’s a very inquisitive horse and once he gets into his new surroundings he takes it all in and in a day or two he thinks he owns the place.”

Fownes, who has never had a runner in Australia before, is confident he will have them fit and firing first-up where they’ll take on a crack field of local champions in the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night, October 25.

“I’ve been wanting to come to Aussie for many a year, but I think I’ve finally waited for the right horse,” Fownes said.

“I’ve got a lot of good friends down there and I’m really looking forward to taking them on.”

While Lucky Nine, the first international to arrive in Melbourne when they land at Tullamarine on September 24, has only raced the right-handed way of going, Fownes said a successful trial the other direction recently had put his mind at ease about taking them to the notoriously tight Moonee Valley course for their maiden spring run.

“I think it won’t be a problem,” Fownes said.

“We’ll need to draw a half-decent gate, but Brett’s had a lot of success around that track so if he draws a good gate I’m sure he’s going to be very competitive.”

Their other major aim this prep is the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) run at the famous Flemington Racecourse on Emirates Stakes Day, Saturday November 9.

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