After announcing earlier in the week plans to spell Lucky Hussler ahead of the autumn and bypass Perth’s 2014 Railway Stakes, top Victorian trainer Darren Weir has said the galloper is still a “long shot” chance for the Group 1 on November 22.
Husson five-year-old Lucky Hussler has been in ace form this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival enjoying five top three runs from as many starts since early September.
Two back he hit a peak with a strong three and a half-length victory after storming home over the final 300m in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
Last Saturday the in-form gelding was stepped back up to elite level for the first time since weakening badly to run last (18th) in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane during the winter.
His Flemington run on a too-hard Good (2) track was outstanding when defeated a mere long neck by Hucklebuck in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Originally set for the spelling paddock before a Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival return next year, connections paid the late entry into Saturday week’s $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot Racecourse on Monday morning.
While in the mix and being kept safe in Railway Stakes odds as the $6 second pick behind Emirates Stakes third placed The Cleaner ($5.50) through Ladbrokes.com.au, Weir is far from confirming Lucky Hussler for Perth Summer Racing Carnival showdown.
“He felt the hard ground a bit the other day,” Weir told Sky Sports Radio on Tuesday.
“He’s going to need to free up in his action in the next couple of days (to go to Perth).
“It’s a bit of a long shot.
“The owners are keen to run him but we’ll just have to see how he goes.”
That “long shot” is one managing owner Glenn Makauskas would love to take he said when speaking to Racing Victoria this week.
“The horse had a very hard track (on Saturday), he has jarred up a bit and we’re going to see how he goes, if he’s not 100 per cent we’ll pull him out but we’d love to go to Perth and have a look,” Makauskas said.
“We think it’s a very winnable race for Lucky but in saying that the horse comes first, we’ll see how the next few days unfold; the wellbeing of the horse is paramount and we don’t want to jeopardise his future.”
Railway Stakes weights are also now out with the Peter Moody-trained non-acceptor Moment Of Change, racing in the $750,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) on the same day instead, the 59kg top weight.
Mick Burles’s well-fancied Tasmanian raider The Cleaner (58kg) is the next heaviest weighted while Lucky Hussler is three kilos above the minimum on 56kg.
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