Dom Tourneur admits that Hucklebuck will need to step-up to win the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm tomorrow, but believes that the talented gelding may not get a better chance to score his maiden Group 1 victory.
Hucklebuck has been well supported in 2014 Stradbroke Handicap betting markets for the past two months and was backed into joint favouritism for the feature event of the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival after drawing the inside gate.
Tourneur is also chasing his maiden Group 1 victory, after being narrowly denied on Scratchy Bottom in the 2014 South Australian Derby, and feels that Hucklebuck will need to step-up in order to beat the established Group 1 performers in the Stradbroke Handicap field.
“There are a lot of horses that have Group 1 winning form; Spirit Of Boom, Temple Of Boom, Red Tracer and Rebel Dane are all proven Group 1 performers and my bloke isn’t,” Tourneur told Racing Ahead.
“He really has to step-up for this race, but he probably doesn’t get a better chance than Saturday particularly with 51 kilos.”
Hucklebuck returned to the races after a stint in the spelling paddock in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 17 and faded in the final stages of the race to finish fourth.
Tourneur revealed that he was not particularly happy with the condition of Hucklebuck heading into the Fred Best Classic, but believes that he has taken plenty of benefit out of the run and will receive a much easier run from barrier one in the Stradbroke Handicap this weekend.
“I thought that he was probably a fair bit under,” Tourneur said.
“Looking at him in the stable prior to going to the races, he looked a bit big for mine and a fair way from being 100 percent.
“He has come on a long way since then and the stable has told me that he has really tightened.
“He ran very fresh and very keen and he wanted to pull hard early.
“He was entitled to be beaten by four or five lengths and finish eighth or ninth, but he toughed it out well and was only beaten by half a length.
“I will try and settle him with a sit and from gate one he will get his opportunity to get cover.
“The other day he was exposed for a fair while and I was hoping that something like Dothraki would fire across and give him cover, but the longer they didn’t the more that he overraced.”
Hucklebuck is currently available at 2014 Stradbroke Handicap odds of $5.50, while Srikandi has been the best-backed runner in Stradbroke Handicap betting markets and is a narrow favourite.