Adelaide star Hucklebuck is set to back up this week in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Morphettville trainer Phillip Stokes had reported that Hucklebuck has pleased the stable since winning the Group 3 $200,000 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Derby Day last Saturday.
“I was happy with what I saw this morning,’’ Stokes said on last Sunday.
Regular rider Dom Tourneur will be aboard Hucklebuck again with the four year old likely to get the perfect run from barrier five in the sixteen horse capacity field.
Hucklebuck will be stepping up to the mile for the third time in his twelve start career, with his other outings over the Flemington 1600m resulting in a second to Paximadia in the 2013 Group 3 $200,000 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) last Spring and then an eighth to Shamus Award in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington during the 2014 Autumn Carnival.
The Emirates Stakes has assembled an even group of milers including last start winner Hooked (barrier 4) and Cox Plate runner The Cleaner (6) as well as Group 1 winners River Lad (14) and Smokin’ Joey (12).
The John Thompson trained Hooked came to Melbourne with Group 1 form after finishing third to He’s Your Man in the $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 4 and then went on to win the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 with Craig Williams who will be on again on Saturday.
Smokin’ Joey has been struggling to find his best form of late but was a close second to Boban in last year’s Emirates Stakes.
Ben Melham will ride again and the seven year old will jump from gate twelve which should suit.
Godolphin’s English import Contributer scored at his first Australian start and is dropping back in distance after his win in the Group 3 $150,000 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18 with James McDonald to ride again from barrier two.
Tasmanian trainer Mick Burles will give his stable star The Cleaner another chance at Group 1 level after leading up the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) field at Moonee Valley before fading to finish three and a quarter lengths ninth to Adelaide.
Trainer Darren Weir also thinks Lucky Hussler is ready to take on the top level after scoring an emphatic three and a quarter lengths win over Under The Louvre in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 18.
Glen Boss is to ride again from gate fifteen.
When markets went up today for the Emirates Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au, Contributer was installed the $5 favourite ahead of Lucky Hussler at $6, Hucklebuck at $7 and Hooked and the Chris Waller trained Bull Point at $7.50 while The Cleaner is a $11 chance.