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Standish Handicap Option for Lucky Hussler

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Melbourne Cup winning horseman Darren Weir is considering a New Year’s Day run at Flemington in the Standish Handicap with his Gold Coast Magic Millions bound sprinter Lucky Hussler.

Lucky Hussler

Lucky Hussler could run down the Flemington straight on New Year’s Day in the 2017 Standish Handicap. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Last summer the now seven-year-old son of Husson enjoyed a first-up win in Queensland’s $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast Racecourse.

He heads towards a title defence in that Restricted Listed showdown on January 14, but could race in the interim on Sunday in Melbourne’s $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m).

From four Flemington runs to date Lucky Hussler has twice run second including to Hucklebuck in November of 2014 in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).

The following March he posted his own elite level success in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

He became a dual Group 1 champion in October of 2015 when beating a smart field of milers in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.

Since then he has been first past the post on twice occasions including the Magic Millions Cup in January.

Lucky Hussler won again last start at Sandown on November 12, narrowly holding off Illustrious Lad in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m).

He is a horse that flies fresh and boasts an imposing first-up record of four wins and a third from 10 resuming runs.

Weir then has to make the call whether to save him for the Magic Millions Cup first-up at the Gold Coast or give him a lead-up run in the Standish Handicap on Sunday at the New Year’s Day racing meet.

“The Standish is an option for him but he’s probably better fresh,” Weir told the media this week.

“He’s big and burly so he needs a couple of hit-outs.

“It’s always been the plan to go up there again but looking at him during the week I thought he might need a run.”

Weir also has the Magic Millions Cup on the agenda for Kenjorwood who enjoyed a Caulfield Boxing Day win on Monday in the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m).

There’s a chance the imported High Church could join his stablemates at the Gold Coast next month running in the $1 million Magic Millions Trophy (2200m) should he win the $100,000 Shoot Out Quality Handicap (2200m) at Eagle Farm this Saturday.

“It’s a great incentive for these types of horses,” Weir said.

“If you’re Inglis or New Zealand Bloodstock you can’t go in but if you’re bought overseas you can win your way in.

“He might not be good enough but he’s not going to get too many opportunities to be racing for one million dollars.”

The in-form High Chaparral six-year-old comes off a string of good runs including his Werribee win over The Chairman on December 11 taking out the 2030m handicap by two lengths.

He carted only 54kg to victory that day however and will need to improve on New Year’s Eve to carry the 58kg top weight to a win in Brisbane on Vo Rogue Plate Day.

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.

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