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Star Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine had their first serious piece of work at Werribee this week since arriving in the country, the Casper Fownes-trained champ set to debut down under in the 2013 Manikato Stakes.
Dubawi six-year-old Lucky Nine became a five-time Group 1 winner on May 19 when expat Aussie hoop Brett Prebble guided them to a smart three length victory over the Australian-trained Bel Sprinter in the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) in Singapore.
Now the well-travelled veteran of 30 starts will look to stamp their authority on the Australian sprints this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Their first assignment is set to be the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, the Friday night before Cox Plate Day takes centre stage.
They also head the early entries for the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) which runs at Flemington Racecourse on Emirates Stakes Day, the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival running on Saturday November 9.
A great traveler, Lucky Nine has settled in exceptionally well at the Werribee International Horse Centre and showed that off with a fast piece of work at the course there on Monday.
Ridden by Prebble who is over for the carnival, the horse ran over 800m in a pleasing gallop considering the extra condition they still need to lose before race day.
“He’s really full. He’s still got a way to go before his race, but he’s more top heavy, he’s like a sprinter now,” Prebble said according to Springracingcarnival.com.au.
“He’s really puffed up, you can feel him underneath you. It’s a good feeling.”
Fownes has been 100 percent happy with the horse and where he is stabled in Victoria since their arrival six days ago saying he was ticking all the boxes ahead of the Manikato.
“He’s going really well, he’s settled in beautifully and he’s still holding his coat nicely, which is important, and he’s eating well,” Fownes said.
“He ticks all the boxes that way.”
For their nice gallop on Monday Lucky Nine was fitted with a hood to help keep them focus, something they will wear for their attempt at the Manikato – Patinack double.
“It basically just cuts out the sound,” Fownes explained.
“He’s a bit of a funny character, if he hears something he will react to it so from that angle it is good for him.”
While their record is an outstanding one, Lucky Nine’s career has been plagued by bleeding issues, issues Fownes is confident are behind them.
“He’s been a pretty bad bleeder, but we still have managed to get some pretty good results out of him,” Fownes said.
“The last five gallops and trial and scopes he’s been completely clean. He’s never been like that.
“Fingers crossed, this campaign he’s been beautiful. If we can keep going the way we’ve been going there has to be a lot more improvement in him.”
Leading up to the Manikato Fownes plans to give Lucky Nine a proper gallop at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley circuit, and will do similar work at Flemington before the Patinack.
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