Connections have scratched talented gelding Hucklebuck from the 2014 Queensland Guineas at Eagle Farm this afternoon to save the talented gelding for a second-up tilt at the Stradbroke Handicapnext weekend.
Before last week it was expected that Hucklebuck would need to win the Queensland Guineas to earn a start in the Stradbroke Handicap, but after the acceptances for the Group 1 event were released he was bumped up to 14th in the order of entry and was assured of a start in the race.
Phillip Stokes said yesterday that he was leaning towards running Hucklebuck in the Queensland Guineas, but had a change of heart and is hoping that the three-year-old will be able to maintain his unbeaten second-up record in the Stradbroke Handicap next Saturday.
Hucklebuck started his autumn preparation with two straight wins in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on February 1 and the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15 and started the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1 as favourite, but was never able to get into the race and finished a disappointing eighth.
He was sent to the spelling paddock following his disappointing loss and returned to the races with a fair fourth, after leading in the early stages of the race, in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 17.
The withdrawal of Hucklebuck has led to a shaking up of the Queensland Guineas betting market; with last start winner Havana now favourite at a quote of $5.
Havana started his autumn campaign with his maiden race win in the Get Racy Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on March 12 and performed well in both the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19 and the Listed Mick Dittman Plate (1110m) at Doomben on May 10 before returning to winning form in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at the same venue on May 17.
Dothraki ($7) and Into The Red ($21) finished behind Havana in the Fred Best Classic and have received a sprinkling of betting support, while there has been plenty of money for Darley colt Agadir, who has not been seen at the races since he finished second behind Order Of The Sun at Royal Randwick on February 8.