Hooked has the chance to record a maiden Group 1 victory in the 2014 Emirates Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and trainer John Thompson has revealed that he could not be happier with the last start winner ahead of the $1 million race.
Hooked started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival with a tough fourth in the Canterbury Hurlstone RSL Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 16 and he did not seem to handle the wet track in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6.
The Casino Prince entire returned to winning form for the first time in over a year when he led from the start in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle on September 17 and he was caught wide in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4, but he was still able to find to the line to finish third behind He’s Your Man and Royal Descent.
Hooked was sent to Melbourne for the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and he was given a lovely ride from jockey Craig Williams to score a second win at Group level and stamp himself as a genuine Emirates Stakes contender.
Thompson was delighted with the performance of Hooked in the Crystal Mile and he revealed this morning that he is delighted with the physical condition of the four-year-old heading into the Emirates Stakes this weekend.
“He has done very well since his last run, which he won well,” Thompson said.
“Things went our way in that race, but Saturday is another step-up which we thing that he is up to.
“He is in great shape, he is nice and healthy and he had his last bit of fast work this morning at Flemington and he has pulled up very good.
“He seems bright and happy, very in himself and he is all set to go for Saturday in the Emirates.”
Hooked is yet to score a win at Group level but he has been far from disgraced at the highest level of racing; finishing eighth in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, fourth in the 2013 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), fifth in the 2014 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m), fifth in the 2014 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and third in the Australian Derby (2400m) before his luckless third in the Epsom Handicap.
Hooked is currently available at 2014 Emirates Stakes odds of $7.50, while Contributer ($5) remains a clear favourite from Lucky Hussler ($6) and Bull Point ($7.50).