Hucklebuck became the first Group 1 winner for his sire Elvstroem in Saturday’s Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Settling just behind the speed, Hucklebuck sprinted to the front in the straight before holding off the late challenge of Lucky Hussler with Tassie war-horse The Cleaner boxing on for third.
Trainer Phillip Stokes took a shine to Hucklebuck as a yearling and went to $50,000 to secure him at the 2012 Adelaide Magic Millions. “He had a deep girth, a lovely horse,” Stokes said. “I trained his mother and she had ability.
“Dom (Tourneur) gave him a good ride. He got there a bit early but dug deep.”
The Emirates Stakes was the second victory in the week for Hucklebuck following his win in the G3 Yellowglen Stakes on Derby Day. He’s earned over $1 million in prizemoney for owner Thomas Li who is CEO of the Macau Jockey Club.
Hucklebuck (4g Elvstroem – Kondari by O’Reilly) is from a half sister to stakes winner Kalamata who has foaled Group winning Adelaide sprinter Stirling Grove. “This means so much,” Stokes said. “It’s fantastic to have Thomas here and to get a Group 1 in Melbourne is a big thrill.”
Tourneur said it was particularly special to ride his first Group 1 in Melbourne for Stokes. “This horse has been brilliant to us. His record should read better than it is but, after such a nice run, I knew he would be very hard to run down today.”