Champion Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine has entered quarantine ahead of his trip to Australia for the 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Lucky Nine is set to contest the Group 1 double of the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 and is set to be the first Australian runner for Hong Kong-based trainer Caspar Fownes.
The six-year-old has not been seen at the races since he beat Australian Group 1 winner Bel Sprinter to win the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) in Singapore in May and Fownes told Sky Racing HQ his star galloper has been progressing nicely ahead of his trip to Australia on September 24.
“We are looking forward to coming down to Australia and the horse has been doing everything right,” Fownes said.
“We gave him a 1000 metre easy trial at Happy Valley on Saturday, I don’t want to get him too stoked up and too fit before heading out so I will do all his final training when he arrives in Australia.
“He has had a nice break since Singapore and I have concentrated on getting him ready for these two races in Australia.”
Lucky Nine will not have the opportunity to contest a lead-up race before he takes part in the Manikato Stakes but Fownes does not believe it will be a problem for the Dubawi gelding who has won two out of his five first-up runs.
“I am as happy as I can be coming into a big Group 1 without having a lead-up race,” Fownes said.
“He is a horse that can be trained fresh and he has a great fresh record so we aren’t going to have any excuses once we come down there.
“He is the right type of horse, he is a great traveler and he always eats well.”
Leading jockey Brett Prebble is the regular rider of Lucky Nine in Hong Kong and is set to partner the five-time Group 1 winner in both of his Australian races.
Fownes said that Prebble has a special place in his heart for Lucky Nine and he is hopeful that the pair can combine to win a few more Group 1 races.
“He loves the horse and has a great relationship with him,” Fownes said of Prebble.
“Hopefully we can continue and win a few more big races with him.
“Even though he is six and a half you wouldn’t know that from looking at him, he is in great form.”