Embrace Me unleashed by brilliant Brett Prebble ride

4 min read
After more than 14 seasons and 800 wins in Hong Kong, Brett Prebble showed he has still got it with a daring ride on promising filly Embrace Me at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

Big race jockey Brett Prebble showed he has lost non of his brilliance with a daring ride to bring Embrace Me (NZ) (Shamexpress {NZ}) from last in the G3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes and set the tone for what could be an exciting autumn for Danny O’Brien’s filly.

After resuming with an unlucky third at Caulfield last start, Prebble elected to ride Embrace Me cold, a decision that was looking like a wrong tactical move at the turn.

Last, and with a wall of horses in front of him, Prebble kept his cool and weaved between runners as Embrace Me let down with an eye-catching turn of foot to capture her first stakes win.

“Last run she really didn’t get extended 100% but she came her tonight and she just really needed a gap, she was always going to win from the 500, she just needed a run," a pumped-up Prebble said post-race. "I didn’t know where I was going to get it."

Perhaps what was most impressive, given where Embrace Me was at the 200 metre mark after turning, was that she was able to score by close to two lengths for a win Prebble called “soft.”

“She has got plenty of upside,” the 41-year-old said of a filly that has now produced all three of her career wins in her last four starts.

Kick start for autumn

It was Prebble’s biggest win since returning full-time to ride in Australian after a stellar career in Hong Kong. Prebble won more than 800 races over 14 seasons riding full-time in Hong Kong including some of the jurisdictions biggest races on some of its all-time great horses, including Sacred Kingdom (NZ) (Encosta De Lago).

The Melbourne native has been splitting his time between states as he chases rides ahead of the big autumn races and Friday night’s G3 win should serve as a reminder that the experienced rider has still got what it takes.

“I am not getting a lot of rides, but I am not going around for practice, I am going for results,” he said after he had produced a big celebration upon crossing the line.

Embrace Me

Trainer Danny O’Brien’s assistant Matt Harrington was equal in his praise for Embrace Me’s incredible dash and Prebble’s poise to wait for the run and then panache to push through the gap late.

“She was last at the 200m and you don’t win very often doing that, the horse was amazing,” Harrington said. “If he comes outside he probably doesn’t win, it he got the breaks, and it’s really great to get the win.”

Hayes' pair promising

Trainer David Hayes' team provided both place getters but despite the shock result was pleased where both horses are heading.

Runner-up Spanish Whisper (Lope De Vega {Ire}) was resuming from a spell and seems to be regaining her best form from New Zealand, where she was a G2 winner, while the beautifully bred Team Valor-owned Victory Kingdom (Animal Kingdom {USA}), out of a sister to Champion USA mare Beholder (USA), showed some great signs for the campaign ahead.

Victory Kingdom, at just her third race start and coming off a midweek maiden win last month, was fast enough to lead and looked the winner late before being nabbed by her stable mate and the swooping winner.

“The Animal Kingdom filly stepping up in class showed that she is going to be able to mix it,” Hayes said. “It wasn’t really suiting the leaders out there today. And it was great to see Spanish Whisper run to her reputation.”

Hayes said both fillies would stay in Melbourne for now, with the G2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington on March 10 a possible next assignment, where he said "the bigger track and 1400m should suit" and added that both “would end up in Sydney” as the autumn progressed.