Breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, trainer Phillip Stokes has confirmed Hucklebuck is taking well to his time in the paddock and will remain away from work well into the 2015 calendar.
Undoubtedly finding career-best form over a short and impressive spring racing campaign, Hucklebuck charged home to win the Listed Durbridge Stakes (1200m) at his local Morphettville course first-up on October 18th; repeating the dose in the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) on November 1st before displaying a keen turn of foot in the final straight to take out the featured Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) most recently on November 8th.
Revealing the four-yea-old is enjoying his time away from competition, Stokes told Racing Ahead he will set Hucklebuck for the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville in May upon his return to work.
“He’s still in the paddock,” Stokes said.
“We’re going to give him a good break and he’ll be set for The Goodwood here (Adelaide) and then he’ll have another break and we’ll look at the spring.”
Understandably thrilled with the results produced by the Elvstroem gelding over spring despite only a short stint in the paddock prior, Stokes is confident an extended spell this time around will make for another memorable campaign through 2015, and outlined the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) as an ideal early target come the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He did a good job because his coat never really came through after coming down from Brisbane and he didn’t have a lot of time in the paddock so that’s why we’re giving him a decent break this time around,” Stokes said.
“Something like the Dato Chin Nam or something like that,” he added of his second 2015 preparation.
Claiming eight wins and two minor placed from his 13 competitive appearances at the races so far, Hucklebuck won both the Dominant Handicap (1200m) and Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) first-up in autumn this year before a minor injury sustained when eighth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) prematurely ended his campaign.
Running fourth in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at the beginning of a short Brisbane winter tilt, Hucklebuck received an ideal run in transit in the featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) but was unable to match the late pace of River Lad, finishing sixth.