Brett Prebble is looking for a landmark win on Super Fluke in the Class 1 Happy Valley Trophy Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday, 21 February, the night when this season’s Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge will reach its climax.
Prebble has passed the Sha Tin and Happy Valley winning posts ahead of the pack 799 times since he arrived in the Hong Kong back in 2002 as a two-time champion jockey in Melbourne.
“It’s a lot of wins, it’s taken a long time to get there but it will be great to get the milestone,” Prebble said at Sha Tin this morning (Tuesday, 20 February).
Tomorrow night, the 40-year-old rider has four chances to make it a round 800, and should Super Fluke prevail in the feature, the Dennis Yip-trained galloper could carry off the Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge trophy and its lucrative win purse.
The points-based competition rewards runners at Happy Valley contesting Class 3 races and above.
Super Fluke has four wins from five starts on the board this term, with two of those triumphs reaping Million Challenge rewards. And with the six-year-old on 34 points in the contest thanks to that brace and a third at the Valley, all since September, victory at the finale could see him match current leader Charity Glory (49 points), should that horse draw a blank.
If that scenario plays out, Super Fluke’s three wins against the latter’s two would be enough to take the HK$650,000 first prize, as long as other results go his way.
“It’s his toughest test ever,” Prebble said of the last start Class 2 winner. “His form around him has been really strong through all of his wins, though, and I feel he’s well-weighted. He’s been harshly-dealt with the draw (10) but you deal with what you get.”
Prebble has been ever-present aboard Super Fluke since the New Zealand-bred joined the Dennis Yip stable late last term.
“He’s changed trainers and he’s got him a really happy horse and he’s really comfortable. He’s a pleasure to ride and he has a real good determination to win – he fights hard for you,” the rider said.
“There’s good speed in the race and he’s a genuine horse so he’ll put his hand up. Whether he’s good enough to win, I’m not sure, but he’ll run a race.”
The contest also features bottom-weight E-Super (113lb), second in the Million Challenge standings with 46 points and making a quick back-up after running sixth over 1000m at the track last week. Perpetual Joyance (126lb) has 33 points and a chance of reaping Million Challenge place-money.
The Hong Kong Airlines Million Challenge bestows 15 points for a win, six points for second, four points for third and three points for fourth. The owner of the outright winner will receive HK$650,000, the second HK$250,000 and the third HK$100,000.
In the event of a dead-heat on points, the horse with the most wins will prevail, continuing to most seconds, most thirds and most fourth placings if required. Charity Glory (49), E-Super (46), Super Fluke (34), Who Else But You (34) and Bank On Red (38), who goes in the Class 3 Sing Woo Handicap (1800m), are the only contenders positioned for a shot at the outright title.
Competition leader Charity Glory (125lb) is slated to line-up in the nine-race card’s penultimate test, the Class 3 Blue Pool Handicap (1200m), in which Who Else But You (124lb) will be seeking a 15-point maximum to sneak the prize. But both will have to contend with the John Size-trained talent, Ivictory (133lb).