Hooked has returned to racing in the best way possible at Royal Randwick this afternoon; completing yet another start-to-finish performance to take out the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
Trainer John Thompson revealed mid-week he believed Hooked would need the first-up run in the Tramway Stakes to find peak condition this time, but the Casino Prince entire allowed himself the best possible chance of a strong first-up performance when jumping well and taking up the pace.
Setting only a fair tempo over the back straight and towards the bend, Hooked remained on pace, alongside the likes of Arabian Gold, Ecuador and the resuming Sweynesse.
Hooked rounded onto the final straight still at the fore of the talent-rich field; locking in a fierce sprint battle with Sweynesse and Ecuador, but continued to find to post arguably a career-best result to date.
Thompson was thrilled with Hooked’s performance for success in the 2015 Tramway Stakes and confirmed Group 1 success is the major goal for the five-year-old this time in.
“He’s come back very well and is back to his old self,” Thompson said.
“I thought he’d run a cheeky race – I didn’t think he’d win but I thought he’d run a cheeky race.
“He’s been working with the good mare (First Seal), they’ve been working well and he’s come here and run out of his skin.
“He’s just in a good frame of mind and goes well. He just needs to take that next step now and we’ll try and get a Group 1.”
Jockey Tye Angland was thrilled to post a win aboard Hooked in the 2015 Tramway Stakes and believes the horse is more than capable of success at the highest level this time.
“He jumped really well, put himself there and travelled liked the winner the whole way,” Angland said after dismounting.
“At the top of the straight I tried to come out into a little bit of fresher-going and gee he kicked well.
“He was very strong winded and was getting a little tired late, but he was entitled to.
“He is a little bit of a query on this sort of going and that’s why I tried to hold him together before I really got to the bottom of him, but super effort.”
Hooked ran on for an impressive third in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), and appears likely to target that race again this season.