Trainer Phillip Stokes has revealed that talented colt Hucklebuck will be sent for a stint in the spelling paddock before returning to the races for a tilt at the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Hucklebuck started the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday as favourite, but was never able to get into the race and finished eighth behind Shamus Award.
Stokes told TVN this morning that the three-year-old was found with mucus in his throat after the race and has ruled Hucklebuck out of contesting any other races during the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnivals in both Melbourne and Sydney.
“We’ll give him a break now and have a good look at Brisbane with him,” Stokes said.
“There are plenty of options up there for him.
“There’s the Stradbroke Handicap or any of the better three-year-old races.
“We won’t have trouble finding a good race for him.”
Hucklebuck performed strongly during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, winning the Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) before finishing second in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m), and stamped himself as a Group 1 contender with two strong performances at the start of his autumn preparation.
The Elvstroem gelding resumed with a tough win over Kushadasi and Crabbing in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on February 1 and was backed into favouritism for the Australian Guineas following his most impressive win over Prince Harada and The Quarterback in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15.
Hucklebuck was settled towards the tail of the field in the Australian Guineas and was unable to make a great deal of ground late; with Stokes admitting that there is a question mark over whether the three-year-old is capable of running a strong mile.
“We settled a few pairs further back than we wanted to on Saturday, but in the end I would have to say there’s a query as to whether he runs a mile or not,” Stokes said.
Hucklebuck was included in the nominations for the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) that will be run Flemington this weekend and his withdrawal leaves the Anthony Cummings-trained trio of Alpha Beat, Surge Ahead and Thunder Fantasy as well as two-time Group 1 winner Shamus Award as the only three-year-olds in contention to contest the weight-for-age event.