Prebble and Whyte in charge at Happy Valley
Report: Hong Kong, Wednesday
LEADING JOCKEYS Brett Prebble and Douglas Whyte dominated proceedings at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, winning five of the eight programmed races to highlight their sharpness ahead of a trip to Japan for the Yasuda Kinen this weekend.
Prebble, who will ride Lucky Nine for Caspar Fownes in the big race in Tokyo, took the jockeys’ challenge with wins aboard Ride On The Fire (Fownes), and Fascinating Smile and Cai Bao In, the latter pair for trainer Paul O’Sullivan.
Whyte, meanwhile, showed no ill effects from his ugly fall last Sunday at Sha Tin by piloting a double courtesy of Shifachi Tradition (Richard Gibson) and Horse Aplenty (Me Tsui).
Already long since assured of his 12th straight jockeys’ title, the South African will partner Glorious Days for champion trainer-elect John Size at the Fuchu racetrack on Sunday.
A couple of promising imports from Ireland and Britain, both from the first crop of Holy Roman Emperor, turned in the best performances of the night in the final two races.
Carrying the same colours worn to Group 1 glory by Liberator last weekend, Imperial Rome (David Ferraris/Weichong Marwing) broke through for his first local success at the ninth attempt.
The winner of the Listed Tetrarch Stakes for David Wachman last year, Imperial Rome had appeared a winner in waiting since dropping back to sprint distances at the city track and he swooped fast and late to lift the night’s feature in Class 3.
The best was saved for last, however, as Legendary Dragon (Ricky Yiu/Mark Du Plessis), formerly St Augustine when trained by John Best to win on three occasions, showed how he has become even more prolific in his new home when winning the Class 2 Wyndham Handicap.
It is not often that previously raced European imports climb through the Hong Kong system as quickly as Legendary Dragon. This was his fourth win from six starts since making his local debut in January and on this evidence he has the scope to rise further.
Twelve meetings remain of the current campaign before the final meeting at Sha Tin on July 15.