Age/Colour/Sex: 6yo Bay Gelding
Trainer: Caspar Fownes
Like Fillies Form, Jockey Brett Prebble has endured a rather lean Spring Carnival this year, but his luck may be about to change when he boards the Hong Kong sprint sensation, Lucky Nine this Saturday. With the carnival drawing to a close, Prebble is looking to go out with a bang, and if Lucky Nine lives up to his name and wins the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic, then the trip down under will have been worth it for both parties.
Purchased for just €9000 by Irish trainer Andrew Oliver, Lucky Nine was originally known as Luck Or Design. He immediately showed promise as a 2 year old, impressing in his first few races and was soon snapped up by leading Hong Kong trainer Caspar Fownes. The new owners would rename him Lucky Nine.
Upon arriving to his new home in Hong Kong, Lucky Nine made a swift impression, winning his first two starts at Sha Tin over 1200m and 1400m, including the defeat of rising star, Able One.
In 2011, he would continue to make waves, opening his campaign with a brilliant victory over the highly rated Xtenson in the Group 1 HK Classic Mile. Although his form remained consistent at the highest level, his defining moment would come when he burst home late to defeat Joy And Fun in the Group One International Sprint.
In 2012 the speed machine would continue his assault, winning his third Hong Kong Group 1 race, the Queens Silver Jubilee Cup over 1400 metres. Lucky Nine would defeat his strong rival, Glorious Days by a short margin.
A fourth Group 1 was added to the mantelpiece in February 2013, when winning the Chairman’s Sprint (Sha Tin), before finally landing an International Group 1 win on foreign soil. With stars in his eyes, Lucky Nine made his way to Kranji Racecourse, Singapore, for the $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint over 1200m. With Prebble in the saddle, Lucky Nine not only won the race, he demolished his rivals, scoring a soft three length victory over Bel Sprinter, with the favourite, Super Easy, finishing in third place.
The next challenge would see Lucky Nine travel down under and fulfil trainer Caspar Fownes ambition to have a runner in the Melbourne carnival.
His Australian debut would be take place at Mooney Valley in the Manikato Stakes. Competing against red hot opposition, including Samaready and Buffering, punters eagerly awaited to see if Lucky Nine would live up to the hype. Needless to say he didn’t disappoint. Settling midfield, it would be the tight home turn that would almost send him packing. Struck with the wobbles, Lucky Nine quickly regained his balance and put his foot on the accelerator. Despite making up exceptional ground, he would be pipped at the post by Queensland hero, Buffering.
And now Lucky Nine has the opportunity to wrap up his Australian campaign with a sixth Group 1 win in the VRC Sprint Classic and a bulging bank balance.
Apart from the $1 million dollars in prize money on offer, Lucky Nine is also in the running for a $600,000 bonus. As a leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, the VRC Sprint Classic offers the bonus to any horse who has already won a leg of the series in another country. (Which includes the KrisFlyer)
Lucky Nine will start from barrier 9 on Saturday and attempt to win his sixth Group 1. He will take on 13 rivals including his Manikato Stakes conqueror Buffering. After crunching those numbers, saying our prayers and donning the lucky socks, Fillies Form are sticking with Lucky Nine in the VRC Sprint Classic, and are hoping for a little bonus of our own.