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Touted as one to watch over the 2014 Autumn Carnival before being forced to the paddock with breathing issues, trainer Phillip Stokes has revealed classy runner Hucklebuck will contest a path geared towards the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Contesting a commendable record of five wins and two minor places from just ten competitive starts to date, Hucklebuck has not been seen at the races since finishing a somewhat disappointing sixth in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 7th.
Confirming the Emirates Stakes as the hopeful target, Stokes said he may have been mistaken in taking the Elvstroem gelding to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, believing he may not have left enough time for a stint in the paddock prior to his spring campaign.
“All going to plan in a perfect world we’d like to get him to the Emirates but if he doesn’t get there we’ll lower our sights,” Stokes told Racing Victoria.
“He’s been back in work now for five weeks and has just started doing even time so he’ll probably be ready to trial in three weeks.
“I probably made a mistake with him going to Brisbane. They just don’t seem to be able to have enough time out in the paddock going up there and he didn’t race the same, he pulled a bit hard which isn’t him.”
A standout performer in his maiden racing preparation over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Hucklebuck won each of his first two starts, and while unlucky to be blocked for a run when third to Lion Of Belfort in the Mitchelton Wines Open (1200m), returned to the winner’s circle in the Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) before finishing a close second in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on November 2nd.
Returning to the track for back-to-back victories in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) and Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) this year, Hucklebuck seemed out of sorts when unable to figure and eighth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, and was later to be found to have suffered respiratory issues.
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