Trainer Phillip Stokes has confirmed that talented colt Hucklebuck will head to Brisbane for the 2014 Queensland Guineas after scoring a comfortable win in a barrier trial at Gawler earlier this week.
Hucklebuck has not been seen at the races since he finished a disappointing eighth behind Shamus Award in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1, but showed that he has taken no harm form a stint in the spelling paddock by scoring a dominant four lengths win in a barrier trial over 1000 metres at Gawler earlier in the week.
Stokes told Sky Racing HQ that he was happy with the barrier trial performance of Hucklebuck and revealed that that the Elvstroem gelding would have his next race start in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 17.
“He trialed nicely,” Stokes said.
“He settled behind them and Dom just got him to the middle of the track there and he let down nicely and won it quiet easily.
“He had a bit of a blow and will take improvement out of it.
“He will leave here on Sunday and all going to plan he will step-out in the 17th in the Fred Best Classic.”
Stokes said that he is not worried that Hucklebuck will be stepping straight up to 1350 metres at the start of his winter preparation and believes that the three-year-old will be more than ready to perform in his first-up run.
The Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm on May 31 is the major 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival goal for Hucklebuck, but Stokes did not rule out the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) for the talented three-year-old.
“He hadn’t had a lot of time out since his run in the Guineas and he has a lot of residual fitness,” Stokes said.
“The travelling up there is like having a run anyway and I haven’t got too many problems with that.
“In an ideal world the race that stands out is the Queensland Guineas on the 31st of May.
“If he runs well in that and his rating is high enough we may look at the Stradbroke.”
Hucklebuck started his autumn preparation with wins in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on February 1 and the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15, but he was sent to the spelling paddock after finishing eighth as favourite in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).