An improving track at Randwick on Saturday will increase the chances of Hooked in the Group 1 $1m The Star 150th Epsom (1600m).
The Randwick track in currently rated a soft 5 but the sunny skies in the next couple of days over Sydney leading up to Saturday should see the surface return to a good rating.
Trainer John Thompson is hoping this is the case and is giving Hooked a great chance back on a good surface to figure amongst the major end of the prizemoney.
“Back on a dry track on Saturday will probably be the main factor for him,” Thompson told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
Hooked has been a Group 1 competitor since his two year old days without claiming a major prize, but did finish third behind He’s Your Man and Royal Descent in last year’s version of the Epsom.
The Casino Prince five year old resumed for the Spring with an all the way win in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 5.
Thompson then blamed the soft track and the second up syndrome for Hooked’s poor run when ninth to Kermadec in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 19.
“Probably I think he suffered from maybe a little bit of second up syndrome the other day,” Thompson said.
“He ran out of his skin first up, probably a run short, and probably took a little bit more out of him than he was letting on and raced a bit flat.”
Thompson said that Hooked doesn’t have to lead from barrier two but he would just like to see him travelling nicely on the bit wherever Tye Angland has him positioned.
“In a perfect world he could get an easy lead, but he doesn’t have to lead,” Thompson said.
“He has won well with a sit before. As long as he is travelling, that is the main thing.”
“If he gets out of his comfort zone too early, like in his last start when Pornichet took him on early, he just got him out of his comfort zone on a heavy track that he doesn’t really like.”
“If you don’t like the wet and you are off the bit you are in trouble.”
“While he is on the bit you can get through it. He was gone a long way from home there and ran accordingly.”
Thompson said that Hooked had picked up nicely following his disappointing run in the George Main Stakes and his work this week on the tracks has been first class.
“His work has been good this week, he looks a million dollars and he should run well,” Thompson said.
“Once he gets into a preparation he holds his form, but his work this week has been pretty good. He has drawn well, good jockey.”
“Make sure our horse is right, which he is. Looking forward to Saturday.”
Hooked has been listed as one of the outsiders at $31 for the Epsom with Ladbrokes.com.au. who have the Chris Waller trained mare Winx as the short priced $2.90 favourite.
Waller will also saddle up the $7.50 second favourite Sadler’s Lake with Lucia Valentina on the third line of betting at $8.50 ahead of Silverball at$9.50.
The Star Epsom market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.90 Winx, $7.50 Sadler’s Lake, $8.50 Lucia Valentina, $9.50 Silverball, $11 Entirely Platinum, Rudy, $16 Kirromosa, $17 Sweynese, Sons Of John, $21 Messene, $26 Ecuador, $31 Hooked, $71 Malice, Pressing, $81 Teronado.