Brett Prebble celebrates after Lucky Nine scorched his sprint rivalsPICTURE: Getty Images
Lucky Nine roars to KrisFlyer victory
Report: Singapore, Sunday
Kranji: KrisFlyer International Sprint (Group 1) 3yo+, 6f
HONG KONG'S Lucky Nine (Caspar Fownes/Brett Prebble) won the International Sprint with a commanding performance under the floodlights at Kranji, but the impressive victory was overshadowed by the violent fall of Jose Verenzuela when his mount Emerald Hill appeared to break down with a furlong to run.
The outsider was at the front of the field when he stumbled, throwing US-based Verenzuela from the saddle as the remaining field thundered by. Incredibly the jockey seemed to avoid being kicked or trampled, but he was replaced by Manuel Nunes on Flax in the following race, the Singapore Airlines International Cup.
By that stage 4-1 shot Lucky Nine was launching his decisive challenge. Having broken as well as any he was in a perfect position to unleash his speed in the straight, streaking three lengths clear inside the final furlong.
Australian 11-4 favourite Bel Sprinter, who was third behind Black Caviar on her final start, came roaring home from a nightmare draw but catching Lucky Nine was a forlorn hope. Super Easy, 4-1, finished third.
Prebble said: "He put the brake on around the first turn, but his confidence came back and he did his job beautifully. I knew from some way out they weren’t going to run him down."
Lucky Nine, now a five-time Group 1 winner, has an entry for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, for which he is a best-priced 14-1 chance.
Balmont Mast finished fourth for his Irish connections and jockey Johnny Murtagh said: "I got a little squeezed at the gate, and was a bit further back than ideally I wanted. He stayed on really well and in a few more strides could well have been second."
Verenzuela's fall was the second such event on the card. Earlier in the evening British jockey Alan Munro escaped unscathed when his mount Black Ice broke a leg and fell in race eight.