A standout performer over early events in the Sydney Autumn Carnival, all signs seem to point towards an impressive performance from exciting three-year-old Hucklebuck in this weekend’s featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
Forced into the spelling paddock after suffering respiratory issues during the running of the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, trainer Philip Stokes had initially nominated the Elvstroem gelding for an appearance last weekend’s Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m), but decided to head into Queensland’s headline race on that back of a single run for fourth in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) on May 17th.
Allocated the ideal barrier 1 for the Stradbroke Handicap, Stokes told TVN he is excited by the prospect of a maiden Group 1 victory for Hucklebuck this weekend.
“Pretty much everything has fallen into place,” Stokes said.
“We’re lucky he didn’t run last week, lucky he’s drawn a good barrier and the weather is fine and we look like getting a dry track, so pretty much everything has fallen into line.
“The horse is great. He has really tightened-up since his first-up run and I’m expecting, with any luck at all in running from the good gate, that he will be in the finish.
“Now it’s just a matter of whether he’s good enough.”
A notable performer over his maiden racing preparation in the 2013 spring, Hucklebuck won three of five race starts and was unlucky to finish second when blocked for a run in the final straight of the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) most notably on November 2nd.
Claiming an impressive total of five race wins and two minor places from just nine competitive starts to date, Hucklebuck strolled home to win both the Dominant Handicap (1200m) and Group 3 CH Hayes Stakes (1400m) with ease prior to his unfortunate run in the Australian Guineas.
Quickly climbing betting markets after claiming barrier 1, Hucklebuck is currently featured as sole occupant of the second line of wagering for success in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at a quote of $5.50.
Aiming for her sixth consecutive race win in only her eighth race start, Srikandi is currently outright $5 favourite to win the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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