Hong Kong local Lucky Nine prevailed in an desperate three photo-finish to win the $A1.8m Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin today.
The second of the Hong Kong International races, like the first, fell to an Australian jockey with Brett Prebble aboard the Casper Fownes-trained galloper.
Prebble and Fownes had finished second with Thumbs Up in the Hong Kong Vase behind the Craig Williams ridden Dunaden just 40 minutes earlier.
For Prebble it was a third win in the Hong Kong Sprint having won in 2006 on Absolute Champion and 2009 on Sacred Kingdom.
But more than his ride, Lucky Nine did a superb job after settling worse than midfield three wide with cover.
The speed in the race was genuine when Bated Breath, Pas de Trois and Rocket Man all tussled for the lead early.
It left Rocket Man three wide without cover and little chance of winning.
Coming to the turn Douglas Whyte gained a miracle run along the fence on Entrapment who raced to the lead.
Joy And Fun had settled just ahead of Lucky Nine and those two horses made runs simultaneously with the latter a length behind at the home turn.
At the 200m, Entrapment, Joy And Fun and Lucky Nine were together and from this point they went stride for stride.
But it was the last stride of Lucky Nine that counted.
He put his head in front and won as Entrapment and Joy And Fun dead-heated for second.
The well fancied Little Bridge had to change course in the straight and may have a limited hard luck story.
It ran fourth ahead of Curren Chan, the Japanese horse who won the the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes over 1200m at Nakayama in Japan on October 2, a race where Lucky Nine finished fifth.
“This is one of the best horses I have ridden,” Prebble said about Lucky Nine.
“He has a turn of foot that is very explosive.
“He was an unlucky runner when fifth behind Curren Chan as he missed the start and was checked during the run.”
Prebble is second on the Hong Kong Jockey’s Premiership Table behind tearaway leader Douglas Whyte.
Sacred Kingdom, the former dual winner of the Sprint, never featured.