Jockey Dom Tourneur is hungry this week, hungry to win the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap on Saturday with Hucklebuck after putting in the hard yards diet-wise to get down to their lightweight in the classic.
Phillip Stokes’ exciting Adelaide three-year-old gets into Saturday’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on 51kg after weights for the Eagle Farm feature are raised half a kilo on Wednesday.
It’s a favourable weight for the horse, but one Tourneur has had to work hard to get down to in order to continue his association with the Elvstroem gelding.
On Monday the Adelaide-based Tourneur still had one and a half kilos to go before reaching a weight he hasn’t gotten down to in years, a test he hopes is rewarding.
“It’s a bit of a challenge but I’m slowly chipping away at it,” Tourneur, who runs 10km a day on top of skipping and work in his home gym, told AAP.
“I have been doing it for the last three weeks and by the time of the race I would have been working on it for a month.
“I’ve got just over a kilo and a half to go, so it’s not bad at the moment considering.”
Tourneur has ridden the horse for their past seven starts including three of their five career wins and rates him a top chance on the weekend.
“He’s going to be as good a chance as any, so it’s something you wouldn’t want to give up, put it that way,” Tourneur said.
A graduate from the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) back in early March, Hucklebuck is looking much fitter and ready for their second elite level assignment.
In the Flemington feature they suffered respiratory problems with mucus found post-race explaining their eighth, still only beaten two and a half lengths, behind champion youngster Shamus Award.
Rested after the Guineas, Hucklebuck returned on May 17 at Doomben for their Queensland debut in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m).
After over racing early they hit the lead mid race and weakened in the closing stages eventually hanging on to cross one and a half lengths away fourth behind Havana.
They were then accepted for the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday but Stokes scratched the favourite after they drew poorly.
“The owner was keen to run second-up in the Stradbroke due to his second-up record,” Tourneur said.
Freshened up then for Saturday’s Stradbroke assignment, Hucklebuck is tipped to perform well having won both their previous second-up starts including Flemington’s Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) back in February.
“He’s yet to prove that he’s a Group 1 horse,” Tourneur said.
“But with the light weight that he’s going to have, with his second-up record, and hopefully he draws a good barrier, he should acquit himself well.”
Currently they occupy the third line of pre-field Stradbroke Handicap betting at a quote of $7
They trail only Ciaron Maher’s flying filly Srikandi ($4.60) after her sixth straight win and Sydneysider Rebel Dane ($6.50) who is the confirmed ride for Tommy Berry.
The Stradbroke Handicap 2014 field is out tomorrow morning so now is the chance to lock in the futures price on your favourites online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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