Trainer Phillip Stokes has revealed that talented gelding Hucklebuck will return to the spelling paddock and will not return to the races until towards the end of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hucklebuck was sent for a stint in a spelling paddock in Queensland after his credible sixth place finish in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 before returning to the Morphettville-based stable of Stokes and the leading Adelaide trainer told Racing Ahead this morning that the Elvstroem gelding would return to the paddock.
“He did two weeks up in Brisbane after the Stradbroke and I have got him back in now,” Stokes said.
“I’ve decided to give him another three or four weeks out just to get him over all of that, so he will be ready for later in the carnival.”
Hucklebuck started his 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 17, a race in which jockey Dom Tourneur was forced to take the three-year-old to the lead after he overraced early, and he did not enjoy being restrained in the early stages of the Stradbroke Handicap.
Stokes admits that Hucklebuck will need to settle better if he is going to contest races over 1400 metres and a mile during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he is hoping that the rising four-year-old will be able to relax in his races when he returns from the spelling paddock.
“The way that he was racing up in Brisbane I won’t be able to get him past 1000 metres because he was pulling very hard up there,” Stokes said.
“I am going to start him off slowly and see if I can get him back into his happy comfort zone.
“I would like to see I could get him over 1400 metres and a mile and get him to relax.
“He use to always switch off down here and I’m not sure if he was just out of his comfort zone up there and maybe it was pace oriented in the Stradbroke because they didn’t go very hard.
“After a good break hopefully he will come back and be better for it.
“He has plenty of racing left in him.”
Hucklebuck has scored five wins from his ten career starts and scored his maiden win at Group level with a strong victory in the CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15.