Lucky Hussler has come up trumps with a gun barrier three draw as the Darren Weir-trained champ seeks back-to-back wins this campaign with success in Saturday’s 2015 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Set to run as Moonee Valley Race 8 at 4:50pm (AEST) on Cox Plate Day this weekend in Melbourne, the weight-for-age $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) features a final field of 12 hopefuls.
Leading the field and the likely markets is Weir’s Husson six-year-old Lucky Hussler in gate three with big race specialist Glen Boss retaining the ride on the last start Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) winner over the Caulfield mile a fortnight ago.
The Crystal Mile is a traditional lead-up to the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) over the same distance on November 7 at Flemington, a race Lucky Hussler ran second to Hucklebuck in 12 months ago.
He gets the chance to improve on that this season, but will first run in the Crystal Mile won last year by the John Thompson-trained Hooked.
The defending Crystal Mile winner Hooked is in the mix again this spring, the now five-year-old Casino Prince stallion out to improve on an 11th to $7 Cox Plate hope Winx in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) last start.
Hooked was third in last year’s Epsom, and in an attempt to get him back to his best this weekend Thompson has added blinkers to his gear with Craig Williams shooting for successive Crystal Mile wins on the galloper.
Along with Lucky Hussler the two other last start winners in this year’s Crystal Mile field are the Chris Waller-trained Amovatio and Turn Me Loose prepared by Caulfield Cup winning trainer Murray Baker.
Waller has accepted for both seven-year-old Strawberry Boy who comes off a Toorak eighth and the in-form Amovatio jumping from the outside alley with Damien Oliver to ride.
The Al Maher gelding had Bowman in the saddle last time out over 1400m at Caulfield when carting a hefty 60kg to victory for his third win on the trot and will appreciate the WFA conditions this weekend with 59kg.
Turn Me Loose meanwhile is on a short six-day turn around after the New Zealand-trained, Epsom Handicap-bound four-year-old won last Sunday’s Listed Seymour Cup (1600m).
Opie Bosson guided him to an impressive three and a quarter length victory with 60kg from barrier 13 of 15 in the Seymour Cup, Turn Me Loose getting the inside alley this weekend with Bosson staying on with 58.5kg.
Also drawn well in Saturday’s Crystal Mile is the Jason Attard-trained Sons Of John in barrier two with Jeff Penza aboard the ultra-consistent Oratorio five-year-old.
Sons Of John won the Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) back in June and comes off two top three runs in Sydney behind Winx firstly in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) and then the Epsom Handicap.
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2015 Crystal Mile Final Field & Barrier Draw
Moonee Valley Race 8 (4:50pm) – 24/10/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||12x167x461||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||3||59kg||114|
|2||5x4700x190||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||8||59kg||107|
|3||2x5611x448||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||6||59kg||104|
|4||17x55311x1||AMOVATIO||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||12||59kg||105|
|5||28840×3320||RUDY||Helen Page||Kerrin McEvoy||10||59kg||104|
|6||22311x6x6x||BOW CREEK (IRE)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||4||59kg||105|
|7||4x12358x00||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||11||59kg||100|
|8||7x555x3404||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||Mark Zahra||9||59kg||98|
|9||7412311×23||SONS OF JOHN||Jason Attard||Jeff Penza||2||59kg||104|
|10||1x2677x027||MALICE||John O’Shea||James Doyle||5||59kg||97|
|11||1x2131x621||TURN ME LOOSE (NZ)||Murray Baker||Opie Bosson||1||58.5kg||106|
|12||11375×1714||WORTHY CAUSE||John Zielke||Luke Dittman (a)||7||58.5kg||97|