Bookmakers have firmed Hucklebuck into a $6 favourite for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
The son of Blue Gum Farm stallion Elvstroem was a dominant winner of the C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at headquarters on Saturday.
Hucklebuck (3g Elvstroem — Kondari by O’Reilly) pushed his way out of a pocket and then put a gap on his rivals to win by almost two lengths from Prince Harada (Haradasun) and The Quarterback (Street Boss).
“We will go home and keep him ticking over towards the Guineas,” Adelaide based trainer Phillip Stokes said. “He’s come a long way in a short time. He relaxed today and did a bit of buffeting to get out. That didn’t seem to worry him and that’s also pleasing.”
Hucklebuck won his first two starts at Gawler and Morphettville before an unlucky third to Lion Of Belfort at Moonee Valley last September. He came back to Melbourne for a second interstate trip a month later and compensated connections with a Group 3 victory in the Gothic Stakes at Caulfield.
Stokes trains Hucklebuck and fellow Group 3 winner Eclair Big Bang for Macau owner Thomas Li and cost $50,000 at the 2012 Adelaide Magic Millions. His dam Kondari is a half-sister to the dam of G3 SA Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Stirling Grove (Mossman).
“His mother Kondari had a lot of ability,” Stokes recalled. “And I really liked him as a type at the sales.”
Elvstroem (Danehill) has now sired 11 stakes winner since Carrara opened his black-type account in the 2009 Doomben Slipper. His latest came courtesy of Outback Joe and owner-breeders Denis and Margaret Marks of the Seven Creeks Estate Syndicate.
Outback Joe is from champion mare Let’s Elope and he won the VRC Bagot Handicap on New Year’s Day. Elvstroem stands at Blue Gum Farm alongside Canford Cliffs (Tagula), Turffontein (Johannesburg) and Red Arrow (Red Ransom).