By Hans Ebert

The last time I saw Brett Prebble was at the Steak House at the Inter Continental Hotel in Hong Kong. I was having dinner with someone in racing and he was visiting the city and with longtime friend in trainer Caspar Fownes.

It was after the races and Brett was with the Fownes family to probably celebrate the birthday of Caspar’s wife. We joined them for dessert and not really knowing Brett well, I tried to make small talk on the way out of the restaurant.

It’s not something I enjoy- making small talk- and doubt Brett does either. I mumbled something about the new young guns making a name for themselves in Victoria and Brett didn’t seem very interested in what I was saying. Hell, I wasn’t interested in what I was saying either. It happens when making empty noises.

I realised after watching the champion rider win the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield aboard the David Jolly trained Behemoth on Saturday, how, during that visit to Hong Kong, he was probably still trying to figure out his next career move and how to make this happen.

Behemoth and jockey Brett Prebble en route to victory. Credit:Racing Photos

By then, he had been back in Australia for about a year after calling time on his 15 year riding career in Hong Kong in 2018, where his rivalry with Douglas Whyte was legendary. Today, they’re friends.

Credit: Kenneth Chan

Being part of Team Whyte at the time, the exploits in the saddle of Brett Prebble were somewhat neglected by yours truly except for following his great partnership with the gutsy Lucky Nine that was trained by Caspar.

In the past year, the name Brett Prebble had been popping up in provincial tracks in Victoria like Coleraine, Casterton etc. The winners started to come, but they were hardly anything special.

His main support system seemed to be the always interesting and straight talking trainer Lindsey Smith. This partnership with Smith, something well worth following, no doubt helped him regain any confidence and any motivation that might have gone missing.

In the next few months, someone watching over Brett pressed Fast Forward and he started riding winners on a regular basis at the metropolitan tracks.

He was back mixing it with the very best who no doubt inspired the Melbourne Cup winning jockey to raise his game. He was back, but not anywhere yet near the top.

Credit: Trackside Photography

What HAD happened though was that those trainers and owners who see beyond the obvious knew that all the experience of Brett Prebble was available, especially at a time when Covid-19 rules and regulations were playing havoc with the Australian jockeys community.

Quite suddenly, plenty of hard work and with the management skills of Liam Pryor in his corner, the winners started to come more and more regularly.

Then, karma struck.

When the in-demand Jamie Kah was recently caught up in the Bermuda Triangle of the Mornington Hijinks along with, at last count, four other riders, and Craig Williams deciding to stick with Tofane, the pendulum swung the way of Brett Prebble. He was offered the ride on Behemoth. The rest, as they say is history.

Knowing the lay of the land when it comes to horse racing, the 43 year old rider would be the first to say that he’s realistic enough to know that one is only as good as their last win. People have short memories. History is back there. It’s nice to have, but it’s all about what’s ahead and what’s next.

What’s next, at least in the fairly immediate future, is that he’s now secured the plum ride on the exciting Incentivise for the galloper’s new trainer Peter Moody.

How the galloper does against some real competition for the first time is going to be helluva interesting. It’s also going to play a significant role in Brett Prebble’s comeback plans.

He’s also riding track work for Chris Waller with some suggesting that should Verry Elleegant run in Melbourne, Brett Prebble will be aboard. Time will tell.

At a time when the only thing certain about anything is uncertainty, let’s just enjoy this comeback story. Let whatever lies ahead unfold in its own time.

By now, Brett Prebble would be in no hurry. After all, this is not his first rodeo. Hardly.

Back in the winner’s circle: Brett Prebble. Credit: Racing Photos

To paraphrase the Joni Mitchell song, he’s seen all sides now.

Whatever happens next is meant to be.

Good things come to those who wait.

#BrettPrebble #Behemoth #comeback