Pre-post favourite Hucklebuck has turned in a strong performance to beat Prince Harada, The Quarterback and an all-round classy field in the 2014 Group 2 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington today.
The CS Hayes Stakes was a race to remember almost from the get-go, with a noticeable amount of bunching and bumping occurring in the opening straight as runners tried to find a good position immediately.
Rounding the final bend, Hucklebuck and San Diego found themselves locked in a tight battle to take-up the lead and after even more argy bargy it was the Elvstroem gelding that took up and early sprint and maintained to the line, finishing a length in front of Prince Harada and a strong finishing The Quarterback.
Trainer Phillip Stokes was impressed with the run delivered by Hucklebuck in a particularly testing environment.
“He just keeps stepping up every time – A very good horse” Stokes told the media after the race.
“He relaxed, did a bit of buffering to get out and it didn’t worry him so that’s pleasing.”
Having now claimed five impressive wins from only seven starts, a successful Autumn campaign is well and truly on the cards for Hucklebuck, with a run in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1200m) the major target.
“We’ll just get him home now and keep him ticking over until the Guineas; we don’t have to do a lot with him” Stokes added.
“We’ll take it as it comes – the Guineas was always my plan but he’s come a long way in a short time so I will talk to the owners and we’ll make a plan.”
Jockey Dominic Tourner offered up a sensational ride on Hucklebuck, managing to keep the talented three-year-old calm and focused throughout the race’s toughest moments.
“I wanted to establish a run in the straight without hitting the button and we just had to push our way out” Tourner said following the race.
“Phillip’s done a great job in bringing this horse up; he hasn’t had him fully wound up each run, just nursing him to the guineas.”
With only two weeks until the Australian Guineas, Hucklebuck has managed an ideal preparation as is sure to be in top form when returning to Flemington.
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2014 CS Hayes Stakes Results
|1||4||HUCKLEBUCK||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||–||1||55.5kg||$2.80F|
|2||7||PRINCE HARADA||Tony Vasil||Craig Williams||1.25L||11||54kg||$7|
|3||6||THE QUARTERBACK||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||2L||8||55.5kg||$6|
|4||2||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Nash Rawiller||2.4L||10||57.5kg||$10|
|5||8||TERONADO||Bruce W Hill||Craig Newitt||2.7L||6||54kg||$31|
|6||12||WORTH A RANSOM||Mick Price||Glen Boss||3.45L||12||54kg||$12|
|7||3||SURGE AHEAD||Anthony Cummings||Chris Symons||5.45L||3||56.5kg||$26|
|8||5||SAN DIEGO||Peter Snowden||Steven Arnold||6.45L||4||55.5kg||$15|
|9||11||KUSHADASI||Richard Jolly||Chad Schofield (a)||6.55L||9||54kg||$18|
|10||10||MONKSTONE||Peter G Moody||Damien Oliver||6.75L||5||54kg||$41|
|11||9||EPIC SAGA||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||9.75L||7||54kg||$31|
|FF||13||MAHICAN||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||–||2||54kg||$20|