Hooked has been a strong and consistent performer for John Thompson since first appearing on course competitively in 2013, and the Randwick-based horseman is confident the five-year-old is primed for a standout campaign through the 2015 Spring Carnival.
Posting a commendable four wins and two minors through 25 competitive starts so far, Hooked undoubtedly found career-best form to date through the 2014 racing calendar; beginning with an autumn campaign highlighted by fifth place finishes in each of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) before producing an impressive turn of foot to finish third in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
Continuing to impress through the Spring Carnival, the Casino Prince entire won each of the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m); running third in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and returning to the paddock after placing fifth in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
Thompson has been thrilled with the form displayed by Hooked in the lead-up to his racing return, and told Racing Ahead he is confident the horse is capable of mixing it with this best this time.
“He trials again this Friday at Randwick,” Thompson said.
“He’ll then head off to the races a couple of weeks later in a 1400m race, whether that’s at Newcastle or in town here at Randwick, we’ll just wait to see how he comes through the trial.
“He’s great. He’s in good shape and is a lot more seasoned horse these days; fully mature now and I think he’s in for a good prep.”
Winning each of his first two starts upon debuting during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Carnival, Hooked made a competitive transition to black type racing in placing fourth in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m); progressing to fifth in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) but failing to match the late pace of Romantic Touch and Zoustar when eighth in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m).
Returning in similarly competitive form during spring, Hooked amazingly placed fourth in each of the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m), Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m), Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
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