Hong Kong trainer Caspar Fownes’ excitement regarding his maiden Spring Racing Carnival campaign is building with his star sprinter Lucky Nine now in quarantine. The globe-trotting speedster, a five-time Group 1 winner, entered quarantine yesterday in his homeland in preparation for his two-start assault on Melbourne’s world famous extravaganza.

Lucky Nine will be Fownes’ first runner in Australia when he steps out in the $1 million Group 1 Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on 25 October, scheduled to them contest the $1 million Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on 9 November.

“I’ve been wanting to come to Aussie for many a year, but I think I’ve finally waited for the right horse,” the South African native said.

“I’ve got a lot of good friends down there and I’m really looking forward to taking them on.”

Lucky Nine has been one of Hong Kong’s star performers for the past couple of years, winning Group 1 events over 1200m, 1400m and 1600m in Hong Kong.

The son of Dubawi, who was born in Ireland in March 2007, registered his first international Group 1 success when he won the KrisFlyer International Sprint – defeating Aussie star Bel Sprinter – in Singapore on 19 May last year.

Fownes said the gelding, who started his career in Europe, was a unique horse who thrived outside his home environment.

“He just seems to enjoy getting on a plane and getting out of Hong Kong,” Fownes said on RSN’s Racing Ahead.

“He’s a bit of a character, he enjoys travelling, he’s a very inquisitive horse and once he gets into his new surroundings he takes it all in and in a day or two he thinks he owns the place.”

Lucky Nine will be the first Spring Racing Carnival international contender to arrive in Melbourne this season, set to touch down at Tullamarine on 24 September – four days before the first planeload of Europeans.

Lucky Nine has raced exclusively at Sha Tin, which races right-handed, in Hong Kong but trialled in the left-hand direction that races are conducted in Victoria prior to entering quarantine and Fownes said he is not concerned about tackling the tight Moonee Valley circuit first-up.

His Singapore success came racing left-handed and regular jockey Brett Prebble will take the reins in Melbourne.

“I think it won’t be a problem,” Fownes said. “We’ll need to draw a half-decent gate, but Brett’s had a lot of success around that track so if he draws a good gate I’m sure he’s going to be very competitive.”