Well performed sprinter miler Hooked will be tuned up for a bold performance when he tackles the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11 first up.
Trainer John Thompson plans to give Hooked two more barrier trials in his preparation for his 2016 Brisbane Winter Carnival debut after the Casino Prince five year old finished second in a 736m Randwick trial on April 22.
“The plan is to get him through two more trials and then go first up into the Stradbroke because he goes really well fresh,” Thompson told Racenet.
“The owners are obviously desperate to win a Group I with him, he’s won two Group IIs and a Group III so far.
“He’s going super and after those three trials he’ll be ready to go.
“He’s a good sound horse, has a great attitude and that’s why he’s lasted so long at the caper. He’s won good races in every prep.”
Hooked has race twelve times at Group 1 level with his two best efforts being a third to Criterion in the 2014 Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick and a third to He’s Your Man in the 2014 Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick.
From twenty-nine starts, Hooked has visited the winner’s stall on five occasions, with his best victories coming in the 2014 Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley and in the 2015 Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Hooked had a mixed 2015 Spring Carnival and after winning first up in the Tramway Stakes finished down the track at his next three starts.
After finishing ninth in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) and eleventh in the Group 1 $1m The Star 150th Epsom (1600m) both at Randwick, Thompson turned his attention to Melbourne but Hooked could do no better and beat one runner home when eleventh to Turn Me Loose in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley.
In early Stradbroke Handicap markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, Hooked is marked as a $41 chance with the Ciaron Maher trained Azkadellia at the top of the betting at $4.80 just ahead of Malaguerra at $5.