An easy Gawler barrier trial win has Group 1 winning sprinter Hucklebuck primed for a sizzling first up performance in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Hucklebuck will be having his first start since winning the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival and top Morphettville trainer Phillip Stokes is happy with the condition of the four year old ahead of his return to the race track.
“He’s come through the trial well,” Stokes told The Advertiser.
“A couple beat him out at the start … but he pulled his way to the front and won by about four lengths.
“He had a bit of a blow after the trial. He’ll have one more piece of work between now and Saturday. That should have him pretty much where we want him.”
While Stokes thinks that Hucklebuck has done enough work heading into the Goodwood, he knows his stable star will take plenty of benefit from the run.
“He probably looks a little bit too good going into the race. He’s still got improvement in him,” Stokes said.
“It’ll be a good race. I’m looking forward to it.”
Hucklebuck was sent out as one of the top fancies in the 2014 Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm before going on to finish sixth, two lengths behind the winner River Lad.
But in the Spring as a four year old the Elvstroem gelding went through undefeated from three runs with wins in the Listed $80,000 Dominant Durbridge Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville, in the Group 3 $200,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and in the Emirates Stakes.
Hucklebuck currently heads the market order for The Goodwood at $4.60 with Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of the Darren Weir trained Lucky Hussler at $5.50 and Western Australian sprinter Black Heart Bart at $6.
Under The Louvre ($9), Lord Of The Sky ($11) and Vain Queen ($12) are the next three in the betting while last year’s Goodwood winner Smokin’ Joey is listed as a $19 chance.
The consistent Hucklebuck is a winner of eight races from thirteen starts and has earned over $1m in prizemoney.