Stokes Confirms Returning Hucklebuck for 2014 Fred Best

May 13th, 2014

Trainer Phillip Stokes believes his stable’s star Hucklebuck will be vulnerable when lining up for this weekend’s Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben Racecourse, in what will be his first appearance on track since suffering respiratory issues during the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st.

Phillip Stokes has conceded Hucklebuck may not line up in prime condition in this weekend's Fred Best Classic

Phillip Stokes has conceded Hucklebuck may not line up in prime condition in this weekend's Fred Best Classic. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

A standout performer over just eight competitive starts so far, Stokes told TVN that while long, Hucklebuck handled the three day trip from Adelaide to Brisbane well but may not line up this weekend in prime order.

“It was a long way but we broke up over several days and he arrived safe and well last Friday” Stokes said.

“He’s first-up on Saturday over 1350 metres so he’s going to be a little bit vulnerable.”

A leading chance in the Australian Guineas, Hucklebuck appeared to be unable to match the late pace of eventual champion Shamus Award, pulling up terribly at the conclusion and forcing a pre-mature ending to what was likely to be a busy autumn preparation.

“We were able to give him four weeks off after the Guineas and he seems to have come back very well” Stokes added.

Debuting to racing over the 2013 spring in impressive form, the Elvstroem gelding secured back-to-back victories in his two maiden appearances, finishing third amongst classy competition in the Mitchelton Wines Plate (1200m) before returning to the winner’s circle in the Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) and closing the memorable season second behind Paximadia in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m).

Returning to racing in typically strong form this season, Hucklebuck strolled home to win the Dominant Handicap (1200m) first-up before repeating the dose in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) prior to the Australian Guineas.

Expected to perform from the outset, Hucklebuck has been included in nominations for several major events over the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, and is outright favourite in early betting markets for success in the 2014 Fred Best Classic this weekend.

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