Racing

Bowman hopes for a ‘Lucky’ win from Gate One

No horse drawn the rails has won the 1,200m Longines Hong Kong Sprint

Lucky Bubbles will attempt to snap a hoodoo at the Longines Hong Kong International Races tomorrow.

The speedy chestnut has drawn gate one in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint, a starting berth from which no horse has triumphed in the 11 years since the race distance extended to 1,200 metres.

Hugh Bowman is the jockey tasked with plotting a trouble-free route to victory from the rail-side barrier.

The Australian ace partnered Lucky Bubbles through a smooth breeze of the all-weather track early yesterday morning. Shortly afterwards, he commented on the favourability of an inside gate.

"At the end of the day, we could have the inside draw and it could be the worst draw possible," he said.

A couple of hours later, that line took on unwanted prescience.

"Draw one again! We had draw one last start. It's no good," trainer Francis Lui said after the official barrier draw was made late morning, referencing the G2 Jockey Club Sprint three weeks ago. On that occasion, Lucky Bubbles was trapped on the rail and finished an untested ninth under Zac Purton.

The best placing by a horse breaking from stall one in the Hong Kong Sprint came last year when Peniaphobia burst to the lead and held on for third. Lucky Bubbles' connections can take heart though as the six-year-old went close from Gate One over the Sha Tin 1,200m when a neck second in last year's G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize.

And then there's the matter of his big rival and likely race favourite Mr Stunning drawing four. No horse has won, or even placed second, from that berth either. - HKJC

HORSE RACING