Trainer John Thompson is confident talented three-year-old Hooked will line up for this weekend’s Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick in perfect condition after working well over the last fortnight.
Producing a scintillating turn of foot to finish an impressive third in the major Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) last time out on April 12th, Thompson told TVN he is excited by the prospect of a far sturdier running surface for Hooked this weekend.
“He’s freshened up really well since the Derby” Thompson said on Thursday.
“His work since has been nice and sharp; he’s in good shape.
“He’s going as good as he can go – it’s up to him now.
“He goes better on top of the ground and it should be better ground on Saturday and that definitely suits him.”
Securing two victories and one place from 14 race starts to date, Hooked was unlucky to finish just outside the places in fourth in all four of his 2013 spring preparation races, including three at Group 3 levels and the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on October 12th.
Steadily building to the task over five races this time in, the Casino Prince colt finished fifth amongst classy competition in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) first-up on February 15th, and while unable to figure in contention in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) just two weeks later, managed to again finish a fighting fifth in both the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) prior to the Derby.
While allocated the slightly wide barrier 8 for this weekend’s Frank Packer Plate, Hooked has opened as and maintained status as sole occupant on the second line of betting, currently offered at a quote of $3.60.
Having strolled home to win the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) on both course and distance last time out on April 12th, talented mare Arabian Gold has so-far received the market share of punters’ attention, who have jumped all over an opening quote of $3.60 to register the daughter of Dubawi as clear $3.20 favourite and market mover.
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