Having partnered the exciting three-year-old in each of his last seven competitive appearances on course, jockey Dom Tourneur is confident in the chances of Hucklebuck in this weekend’s featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Finishing fourth in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) in his first appearance on course since being struck down with respiratory issues during the running of the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st, Tourneur believes that while yet to prove his credentials at the highest level of Australian racing, Hucklebuck is as good a chance as any runner confirmed to line up on Saturday.
“The owner was keen to run second-up in the Stradbroke due to his second-up record,” Tourneur told AAP.
“He’s going to be as good a chance as any, so it’s something you wouldn’t want to give up, put it that way,”
Offered the chance to carry a race-low 51kgs in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap, Tourneur said it has been a difficult process to get his body-weight down to minimal weight, but is pleased with his progress and is confident the Elvstroem gelding will re-pay the favour come Saturday’s feature.
“It’s a bit of a challenge but I’m slowly chipping away at it,” Tourneur said.
“I’ve got just over a kilo and a half to go, so it’s not bad at the moment considering.
“He’s yet to prove that he’s a Group 1 horse. But with the light weight that he’s going to have, with his second-up record, and hopefully he draws a good barrier, he should acquit himself well.”
Contesting an impressive race record of five wins and two minor places from just nine competitive starts so far, Hucklebuck returned to the track in typically scintillating form this year, claiming back-to-back victories in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) and Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m) before his run in the Australian Guineas forced a premature end to his autumn preparation.
Hoping to draw an inside barrier for the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap, Hucklebuck is currently featured as sole occupant of the third line of betting for success this weekend at a generous quote of $7.
Aiming for a sixth consecutive race win, Srikandi is outright favourite to claim a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing when lining up for the Stradbroke Handicap, offered at $4.60 odds, ahead of Rebel Dane ($6.50).
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