John Thompson’s Crystal Mile winner Hooked is one of the top final acceptors for the marquee race at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday – the Emirates Stakes 2014.
Emirates Stakes Day brings to a close the week-long Melbourne Cup Carnival and features two Group 1 highlights including the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
The mile handicap has drawn a capacity field this year with 16 confirmed starters plus the Anthony Cummings-trained Spy Decoder, runner-up to General Groove over 1400m on Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday, the sole emergency.
One of the headliners in the Emirates Stakes field is Hooked, the Casino Prince four-year-old shooting for his third win from four starts this time in.
Three back he won the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle before a brave third when only 1.6 lengths off the winner He’s Your Man in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Sydney’s Royal Randwick.
Last time out on October 25 he travelled south to Melbourne on Cox Plate Day and won the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley by a good margin over Bull Point.
That day he carried 58.5kg from barrier one with Craig Williams aboard, the progressive stallion to appreciate the drop back to 56kg on the weekend with Williams staying on with a nice barrier four draw.
Also coming via a top three run in the Crystal Mile then are the Chris Waller-trained runner-up Bull Point (barrier nine) and third past the post Desert Jeuney with the outside Emirates Stakes barrier to overcome.
Fastnet Rock four-year-old Bull Point will be ridden by triple Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver on the weekend replacing this year’s Cup winning hoop Ryan Moore in the saddle with Waller after back-to-back wins after his success with Boban 12 months ago.
He contexts his third Group 1 of the season after a brave Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes third and sixth in the Toorak Handicap, both won by Trust In A Gust, at Caulfield earlier in the season with Saturday his first look at the Flemington track under race conditions.
Desert Jeuney meanwhile has run third in his three most recent runs, including in the Toorak Handicap over the Caulfield mile, but will have to be at his best from the horror gate (17 into 16).
Along with Hooked there are three other last start winners in the Emirates this year with the John O’Shea-trained Contributer (barrier two), the in-form Hucklebuck (barrier five) after his third on the trot and the Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler with Glen Boss riding.
James McDonald stays on imported High Chaparral five-year-old Contributer who races down under for just the second time after a win on debut at Caulfield in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m on October 18.
The form coming out of that race has since held-up too with third placegetter Signoff winning the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day then finishing a brave fourth behind Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup over the two miles this week.
Hucklebuck meanwhile continued his nice Flemington track record last Saturday taking out the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) with 56kg, the Elvstroem gelding down to 55.5kg on the weekend.
Lucky Hussler then carries 55kg from a wide barrier 15 (into 14) draw and is yet to finish out of the money this time in, the Husson gelding’s last effort being a Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) win on October 18.
Emirates Stakes weights meanwhile are led by the Natalie McCall-trained Stradbroke Handicap winner River Lad and Mick Burles’s Tassie galloper The Cleaner coming off a Cox Plate ninth – both on 58kg.
Other notable hopes include Crystal Mile fourth placegetter Speediness with the rails run from barrier one with Hugh Bowman aboard and Wez Hunter’s upset The Goodwood winner Smokin’ Joey.
See below for the full Emirates Stakes 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Emirates Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 7 (4:20pm) – 08/11/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x12x711x40||RIVER LAD||Natalie McCall||Tommy Berry||14||58kg||109|
|2||51×2121119||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles||Steven Arnold||6||58kg||109|
|3||62720×4024||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Hugh Bowman||1||57kg||107|
|4||803618×857||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||Ben Melham||12||56.5kg||106|
|5||5534×47131||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||4||56kg||105|
|6||1224x131x1||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||2||55.5kg||104|
|7||x118x46x11||HUCKLEBUCK||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||5||55.5kg||104|
|8||x623x17507||STIPULATE (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Mr Wayne Lordan||10||55.5kg||104|
|9||0x000x3221||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||15||55kg||103|
|10||12x11212x8||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||3||54.5kg||102|
|11||1407×32362||BULL POINT||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||9||54kg||101|
|12||x0x2x50554||HONORIUS||David Payne||Dean Yendall||11||54kg||101|
|13||3458×56333||DESERT JEUNEY||Nigel Blackiston||James Winks||17||53.5kg||100|
|14||35276128×2||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||–||16||53kg||99|
|15||x68011x595||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Chad Schofield||8||52.5kg||98|
|17e||144×527012||SPY DECODER (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||–||13||52.5kg||79|