The John Thompson trained Hooked remains steady in the Emirates Stakes betting in what is going to develop into a wide open affair at Flemington on Saturday.
With six runners under double figure odds in the capacity sixteen horse field of the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m), Hooked is currently marked as a $7 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au who have Godolphin’s English import Contributer as the $5 favourite.
The other runners under double figures are the Darren Weir trained Lucky Hussler ($7) with Glen Boss aboard, Bull Point ($7.50) from the all-conquering Chris Waller stable with Damien Oliver in the saddle, Adelaide’s star Hucklebuck ($8.50) with Don Tourneur on top again and Leebaz ($9) from the Team Hawkes stable.
Hooked rounded off his Emirates Stakes preparation with a solid hit out at Flemington on Tuesday morning working over 1000m in 1.6.69, coming home the last 400m in 23.75s.
“He looked in terrific order and worked accordingly on Tuesday morning,” Flemington trackwork man Warren Huntly wrote in his Sportsman column.
“He is drawn to secure a nice run in transit tomorrow and is sure to fight out the finish again.”
With the Mick Burles trained front runner The Cleaner in the race, the Emirates Stakes is certain to be run at a solid pace which will suit Hooked who sat just behind the leader, Havana Rey, before winning the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley at his last start.
“If you take a line off Havana Rey last start it worked out well for us to sit off of him,” Thompson told the Sportsman.
“So if he can take up that roll again I will be pretty happy.”
Thompson is happy with the progress of Hooked since his Crystal Mile win and even though he considered the four year old’s best distance to be 2000m, he is happy to take on the Group 1 handicap over the mile.
“He’s definitely going better this prep than last, just the one bad run on a wet track,” Thompson said.
“I think his perfect distance is 2000m but he is going very well this prep kept fresh at a mile and I did that because of the mile handicaps.”
“I was a bit disappointed he got a bit more weight than I was expecting, but that might have been a bit to do with the field.”
Craig Williams was aboard Hooked at Moonee Valley and is certain to give him a similar ride from barrier four in the Emirates Stakes.
The Cleaner has drawn two to the outside of Hooked at gate six and Steven Arnold is certain to let the Tasmanian galloper take up his favourite position in front.
The John O’Shea trained Contributer is dropping back in distance after scoring at his first Australian start by winning the Group 3 $150,000 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18 and will jump from barrier two with James McDonald to ride again.