Top jockey Brett Prebble has endured a rare quiet run for the last month, with just one winner amongst a frustrating run of minor placings, but he can strike back at Happy Valley on Wednesday night.
A suspension allowed Prebble to enjoy Christmas dinner for a change in the back half of December, but he lost momentum as the Douglas Whyte-Zac Purton rivalry ramped up.
With Whyte and Purton suspended themselves on Wednesday night, Prebble has a great chance to retake some territory and has a second to none opportunity in the Group 3 January Cup feature replacing Purton on Helene Spirit for Caspar Fownes.
Helene Spirit backs up from last week’s 1,400m Group 3 win at Sha Tin and is the form horse of the January Cup over what looks an even more suitable 1,800m.
Prebble’s regular partner, trainer David Hall, has also been quieter than usual but the pair combine with a great chance in the final event, Medallist. Medallist has not been far away lately, and Hall has applied blinkers for the first time to see if he can extract the little extra needed to turn those lesser cheques into the main prize.
Hall also has a great winning chance with surprise last-start Class Four victor, Country Charm, stepping up in class and distance.
With Whyte out, John Size has snapped up Prebble for consistent Glory Horsie and the disappointing Cheers Joy, while the jockey also has good early rides for Derek Cruz in Magnanimous and Tomodachi.
Tomodachi failed in Class Three last time but is back to Class Four, where he won in December, but Hall might be Prebble’s nemesis there – he has Dapper Boy returning to action. The gelding pulled up injured when beaten as favourite in October, but has always been good fresh.
By Nathan Mody