By Hans Ebert

When Brett Prebble left Hong Kong a couple of years ago, many thought that after everything he had accomplished, the experienced Australian jockey would quietly fade into the past.

He certainly wouldn’t have been hurting for a quid after all his years riding in Hong Kong, and taking advantage of the very generous taxes on earnings here.

What one can never really know is just how much athletes miss what have been a major part of their lives when deciding to retire. Brett Prebble never retired. He took a break.

Reintroducing himself to Australia’s new riding landscape at 33 by mainly competing at the provincial tracks in Victoria, there was some divine intervention that has suddenly made Brett Prebble Victoria’s leading rider.

It might seem like this comeback has come out of the blue, but this would be wrong. It’s been achieved through damn hard work- mentally and physically- and it’s paid off. Maybe it was meant to be.

Though the winners kept coming thick and fast at the metropolitan tracks, what really helped was recently winning the Group 1 Memsie Stakes on Behemoth, and where he was the second jockey to be offered the ride after the suspension of Jamie Kah.

In a different game of chance, Prebble gave up the ride on Behemoth to partner Probabeel for the galloper’s next three rides.

Yesterday, there was a brilliant ride by the rider at Flemington to get out of a bad traffic jam and win on Ranch Hand. This was a couple of races before showing all his guile by taking out the Makybe Diva Stakes on the very much talked about Incentivise.

Proving that talk must be backed by action, he clearly outfoxed everyone else in the race.

If travel restrictions are ever removed and the world gets somewhere close to normality and Brett Prebble returns to Hong Kong for the International races and the International Jockeys Championship, this would prove more than interesting.

Imagine if the Australian rider combines with trainer Douglas Whyte, his former nemesis when both were jockeys and fierce rivals.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, just when some were wondering if the enigmatic Blake Shinn was still riding in Hong Kong, one sees that the 33 year old one-time champion jockey who’s had a rollercoaster career that’s taken him to hell and back including a wardrobe malfunction, is at Shatin with nine rides in the 10 race programme.

If there’s a day that’s going to get Shinn off the mark this new Hong Kong racing season, it’s today, with many believing this will come on first starter Lord Thunder for David Hayes. Maybe.

He also rides Wealthy Treasure which has moved from the Douglas Whyte yard to Mr Hayes.

Oooooh, Douglas isn’t going to like that- unless, of course, he turfed out the owners.

Having said that, apart from competing for “face” and happy to overpay for average conveyances, Hong Kong owners are dedicated and fawning followers of being associated with the flavour of the day.

Right now, David Hayes is the flavour of the day and with some believing that he can walk on water. Maybe he does? In the bath.

More interesting to those playing to win is that every one of his runners, at least while his stable is on fire, are going to start under the odds.

This is good news for those looking for value and not led by the nose of the false gods of overnight odds and inhaling too much information.

Where’s there value today?

Well, the seventh and eighth races could throw up a few wobblies, whereas after a pretty dismal last season, Trainer Dennis Yip is back with quite a sizeable number of entries in races in the lower grades. (He doesn’t have any gallopers in the higher grades)

He knows the importance in quickly racking up some winners in order to be relevant.

How many even remember that he was once Hong Kong’s champion trainer?

Interesting is him backing up Trust Me after the galloper running a good third on Wednesday and paying 6-1. Today, Matthew Chadwick takes over from Alex Lai.

Though not seeing After Me winning, it could again place at good odds whereas Chadwick has a few rides that could sneak in at good odds.

Is there a jockey to follow today?

Other than The Zac And Joao Show, there’s always Karis Teetan. He might not be the most stylish of riders, but who cares when he keeps delivering?

There’s something infectious in watching the Mauritian Magician winning. They are ‘feel good’ moments. Racing needs more of these.

As for the racing, there’s something of a Saturday afternoon race meeting in Hong Kong at Shatin today.

This often happens when looking at the card, noticing that there are a couple of all-weather races intermingled with some ordinary looking races, and immediately deciding whether to have lunch at either Repulse Bay or drive out to Sai Kung.

One could also refrain from eating for two days and be Mr Creosote and get stuffed at the quite incredible Sunday Branch at Le Brassiere at the Conrad Hotel.

There’s much to be said for getting well and truly stuffed.

#brettprebble #hkracing #incentivise #blakeshinn