By David Morgan
When December rolls around, Lucky Bubbles is expected to be among Hong Kong’s heavyweight contenders for Group 1 honours thanks to his exploits during an exciting four-year-old campaign, and the talented sprinter appeared to be in good order this morning at Sha Tin as he strode through his first barrier trial of the new season (Tuesday, 13 September).
The Sebring gelding travelled easily under close comrade Brett Prebble, who allowed the five-year-old to roll home under his own steam to finish third of 12 in the 1050m all-weather track trial.
Trainer Francis Lui is satisfied with Lucky Bubbles’ progress into the campaign ahead, having given his charge a break following a close second to the sensational Australian ace Chautauqua in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin on 1 May. The chestnut returned to fast track work on 6 August.
“This morning Brett just let him enjoy the trial,” said Lui. “He’s stronger and more mature now than last season.”
The handler has his eye on two potential starting points for Lucky Bubbles - the G3 National Day Cup (1000m) or the G2 Premier Bowl (1200m), both of which are handicaps.
“The target is the Hong Kong Sprint in December, and when he returns will all depend on how he behaves in the morning track work and around the stable. If he’s too fresh, he might run on October 1st in the National Day Cup and if not we will then look to the Premier Bowl on October 23rd,” said Lui.
“We have to think about the fact that he will have to carry top-weight over 1000 metres on 1 October, but the Premier Bowl is over 1200 metres, which is a more suitable distance for him.”
Lucky Bubbles has a Hong Kong record of five wins from 11 starts, each in tandem with Prebble, who has also been ever-present aboard the gelding during morning track work since the summer break.
Lucky Bubbles (far-side) runs home third in his first barrier trial of the current season at Sha Tin this morning.