Hooked is currently available at 2015 George Ryder Stakes odds of $13, but trainer John Thompson is confident that the talented entire is ready to run well in the Group 1 event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Hooked stamped himself as a genuine Group 1 performer when he ran excellent races in both the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he returned to racing with a more than credible fourth in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 7.
Thompson told Racing Ahead that Hooked had taken plenty of benefit from his first-up run in the Canterbury Stakes and he is confident that the Casino Prince entire can run another good race in the George Ryder Stakes as he builds towards the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 4.
“He has definitely improved,” Thompson said.
“He was fairly forward for that race, but he still improves with racing as a big, gross stallion.
“I am very happy with him and I’m sure that he will run a super race.
“Weight-for-age is probably not his go, but he is drawn well and he is going to get a nice run from there with Hugh on.
“This run will set him up nicely for the Doncaster where he drops down to 52.
“I would like to see him running in the first four again.”
Hooked will be having his sixth race start at Rosehill Gardens in the George Ryder Stakes and is still chasing his first placing at the venue after finishing outside the top three in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m), Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Canterbury Hurlstone RSL Handicap (1400m).
Thompson admits that Hooked generally produces his best form at Royal Randwick, but he does not believe that the four-year-old has any problems at Rosehill Gardens and said that it will not be an excuse if he fails to fire in the George Ryder Stakes.
“He definitely goes better at Randwick, which is his home track, but the races he has been in at Rosehill have probably not been races that he can win,” Thompson said.
“Saturday that could possibly change.”
Cosmic Endeavour is currently available at 2015 George Ryder Stakes odds of $4.80 with Ladbrokes and is a narrow favourite from Shooting To Win ($5.50), Kermadec ($6) and World Ace ($7).