Morphettville trainer Phillip Stokes will send Hucklebuck to Melbourne at the peak of condition for the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Huckleback has been installed the $3.70 favourite for the three year old Group 1 feature after scoring an impressive win in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15.
Stokes sent Hucklebuck out to gallop over 800m at Morphettville this morning and was very pleased with his work after picking up the tempo over the final 400m.
“I was very pleased with his work, I liked what I saw this morning,” Stokes told TVN.
Stokes will monitor the Elvstroem three year old’s recovery but can’t see why he won’t be on the float to Melbourne on Thursday night.
“All being well between now and Thursday he’ll be on the float Thursday night heading across,” Stokes said..
“He should be spot-on for Saturday,
“A nice draw would be good now.”
Leading Adelaide jockey Dom Tourneur will again be on Hucklebuck after riding the gelding in three of his five wins including his last start victory in the C S Hayes Stakes.
But Tourneur knows that Hucklebuck will have to keep on improving if he is to mix it with proven Group 1 performers Eurozone and Shamus Award.
“But he has got to take that next step to be competitive at Group One level,” Tourneur told AAP.
“They are not going to be pushovers,” Tourneur said.
“They are all there to have a crack at the big one and I’m sure they are all going to be primed for it and he’s got to take the next step to be competitive. But I’m confident he can.”
The Danny O’Brien trained Shamus Award looked like he needed the run at his first start since winning the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last October when third to Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.
And the Bart And James Cummings trained Eurozone showed that he has come back better in the Spring going down by a nose to Moment Of Change in the C.F. Orr Stakes.
Thunder Fantasy from the Anthony Cummings stable has thrown his hat into the contest with a one and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.
Hucklebuck heads the Australian Guineas market order at $3.70 ahead of Eurozone at $4.60 with Shamus Award at $7, The Quarterback at $9 and Thunder Fantasy at $12.