Leading Adelaide trainer Phillip Stokes will have a two pronged attack for the newly named 2015 Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 9.
Breeding and racing giant Darley recently took over the naming rights for the Goodwood for the next three years and Stokes will prepare his Group 1 winner Hucklebuck and the promising Eclair Big Bang for Adelaide’s number one sprint.
Hucklebuck broke through for his initial Group 1 win when he beat Lucky Hussler and The Cleaner in the $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8 and was then sent for a break.
The Elvstroem gelding has won twice over the Goodwood course and distance and Stokes said that the Group 1 sprint would be a high priority during the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
Stokes’ other emerging sprinter Elcair Big Bang has also been sent for spell after finishing tenth to Magnifisio in the Group 1 $750,000 Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth last Saturday and will be prepared for the Darley Goodwood.
Eclair Big Bang earned a trip to the west to compete at Group 1 level after scoring a narrow win in the $100,000 Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on the same day Hucklebuck took out the Emirates Stakes.
Stokes wasn’t disappointed at Eclair Big Bang’s effort at weight for age in the Winterbottom Stakes and said that the four year old was due for break.
“When you look at the sectionals they ran the first half of that race quicker than the second last half,’’ Stokes told The Advertiser.
“In saying that it was a big ask, weight-for-age and his fifth run this time in, he was probably coming to the end of his campaign by the time he got on the plane so he’ll go to the paddock now.”
The leading Adelaide trainer wasn’t without some good news on the weekend with promising stayer Eclair Samba scoring a four lengths win over 1950m in the $40,000 Prime Traffic & Security Services BenchMark 90 Handicap at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.
Eclair Samba will now be aimed at the Group 2 $400,000 Tattsbet Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville on March 9.
“Eclair Samba will go to the Adelaide Cup,’’ Stokes said.
“I wasn’t here obviously but when we got the rain I was pretty confident, people think he’s a dry track horse but I think he’s better on rain affected ground.’’
“He’ll have a few weeks off now and head towards the Cup, that will more than likely be the race we’ll look at with him.’’