A rematch with Nigel Blackiston’s defending champ Suavito is on the cards for the Phillip Stokes-trained Hucklebuck in the Futurity Stakes 2016 after his big run for third behind the mare in the CF Orr Stakes over the weekend.
Adelaide-trained Elvstroem five-year-old Hucklebuck returned to racing on January 23 with a close fourth to Holler in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley before taking on a star-studded field in the year’s opening elite level last Saturday.
In just his second run at Caulfield Racecourse the galloper ran out of his skin to cross just over a length away for third behind returning mare Suavito and the unlucky runner-up Lucky Hussler in the Group 1 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
Hucklebuck won the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) over the Darren Weir-trained Lucky Hussler, who was caught back in traffic in the Orr Stakes, back in 2014 and impressed Stokes with his best run since second-up from the outside barrier (18 of 18).
“He ran enormous and if he’d drawn a barrier, he would’ve been there (in the finish),” Stokes told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“Geez that was a good race, you could make a case for about 10 horses in that.
“He’s come back in super order – he’s in for a good prep.”
The CF Orr winner Suavito was having her first run back from a 10-month spell due to injury and will now return to the 1400m at Caulfield for the Group 1 Futurity Stakes on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 27.
Stokes confirmed the same race would also be on the cards for Hucklebuck, a winner of eight of his 16 starts to date, so long as all went well for the horse over the next week.
“We’ve just got to work out now if we back him up in two weeks’ time,” Stokes said.
Hucklebuck will be Stokes’s first Futurity Stakes runner and he is out to stop Suavito from going back-to-back in the clash following her win last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
The horse is also nominated for a possible run in the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in Sydney at Randwick Racecourse on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’, April 1.
He is yet to race in Sydney and is currently paying $21 in futures Doncaster Mile betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The all-in Doncaster Mile odds are led by Winx ($8), Chris Waller’s classy Street Cry mare returning to the track for the first time since her historic Cox Plate win in the spring to win the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) first-up at Randwick last weekend.
While she is being kept safe in betting on the Doncaster Mile, which her trainer Waller has dominated with five winners in the past eight years including the past three consecutive with Sacred Falls (2013-14) and Kermadec (2015), she is more likely to run the following weekend.
On Day 2, April 9, the autumn’s richest race takes place with the running of the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), which is the long term aim for Winx.
She is again the dominant favourite in the pre-field odds for the Group 1 at $3 followed by Japanese Group 1 performer Isla Bonita ($7).
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