John Thompson celebrated a big win on a feature race day as a young trainer out on his own with his speedy miler Hooked running devastatingly close to the long-standing record in the Crystal Mile 2014 on Cox Plate Day.
The $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) lost its draw card contender this morning when dual Group 1 winner Trust In A Gust was scratched with a stone bruise.
That saw money come in for a number of other top chances including Thompson’s progressive Casino Prince four-year-old, the stallion coming off a brilliant third to He’s Your Man in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney.
Winner of Newcastle’s Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) the run before, Hooked was luckless from a wide barrier (14 of 15) in the Epsom but still ran an honest race at a hot speed to come within 1.5 lengths of Waller’s champ.
Today he got all the favours drawing the inside alley and dropping back to an eight-starter Group 2 race, Hooked lapping up the advantages for a strong win with Craig Williams in the saddle replacing Sam Clipperton.
“He didn’t have much favours in the Epsom,” Williams said.
“Today we had a nice barrier draw.”
Williams gave the galloper the ideal run poised second off the leader Havana Rey.
On Tuesday Hooked ($4.80) failed to impress in his Breakfast With the Best track gallop at Moonee Valley, but he put it together on race day, the speedster winning in a blistering 1.34.98 seconds, just a shave off the record held by Cabeza (1.34.78) set back in December of 2010.
“He got lost completely on Tuesday,” Thompson said after today’s win.
“We’ve bought horses here on the Tuesday and they have a good look around and on game day they really switch on.”
Responding to Williams strongly with 400m left to go, Hooked was too strong on the line and beat the Waller-trained Bull Point ($8), coming off a sixth to Trust In A Gust in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), who worked his way from last on the fence with 650m to go by two lengths.
In a photo for the minor placings with Bull Point was then a fast finishing Nigel Blackiston-trained Desert Jeuney ($26), the outsider of the race swooping late to finish in the money at juicy odds while race favourite Speediness ($2.60) was a disappointing fourth.
It was a high pressure race and Hooked was there to be run down but held on chasing down a Group 1 run later in the spring following his terrific effort off a hot, hot speed that saw them run sub .47 seconds for the first 800m.
The Crystal Mile results cemented Hooked as a horse to watch on November 8 when, on the closing day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington, he runs in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
“The Emirates was his grand final and this was his run in between,” Thompson said.
“He’s been going well.
“The horse is at the top of his game.
“It’s what dreams are made of.”
To back Hooked next start and access all the top Emirates Stakes odds make sure you’ve got an account open online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million spring Mega Pick!
2014 Crystal Mile Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 6 – 25/10/2014
|1||6||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||–||1||58.5kg||$5|
|2||7||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||Ryan Moore||1.75L||2||58.5kg||$8|
|3||4||DESERT JEUNEY||Nigel Blackiston||James Winks||1.85L||3||59kg||$26|
|4||1||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Nash Rawiller||3.1L||4||59kg||$2.60F|
|5||3||AKAVOROUN||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||6.85L||5||59kg||$6|
|6||9||LIBERTY’S CHOICE||Gai Waterhouse||Damien Oliver||8.6L||8||58.5kg||$14|
|7||2||HAVANA REY||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Ms Linda Meech||11.6L||6||59kg||$19|
|8||8||ATLANTE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||11.8L||7||58.5kg||$12|
|–||5||TRUST IN A GUST||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||–||0||–||–|