Confirmed to line up against arguably Saturday’s most talent-filled field at Rosehill Gardens, trainer John Thompson is confident middle-distance specialist Hooked is more than capable of success in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Posting four wins and two minor place finishes over his 22 career starts so far, Hooked returned to racing in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick a fortnight ago; displaying a keen turn of foot late to finish a close fourth.
Having taken priceless condition from the first-up hit-out, Thompson told Racing Ahead he is pleased with the Casino Prince entire’s form leading into the 2015 George Ryder Stakes and is quietly confident of a competitive performance despite a few less-than favourable conditions.
“He has definitely improved,” Thompson said.
“He was fairly forward for that race, but he still improves with racing as a big, gross stallion.
“I am very happy with him and I’m sure that he will run a super race.
“Weight-for-age is probably not his go, but he is drawn well and he is going to get a nice run from there with Hugh (Bowman) on.
“This run will set him up nicely for the Doncaster where he drops down to 52.
“I would like to see him running in the first four again.
“He definitely goes better at Randwick, which is his home track, but the races he has been in at Rosehill have probably not been races that he can win.
“Saturday that could possibly change.”
Undoubtedly finding career-best form to date over the 2014 Australian racing calendar, Hooked placed fifth in each of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m); running on for third in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) most notably in autumn.
Returning in spring in similarly good condition, the stallion out of Absolute Allure won each of the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m); placing third in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and a credible fifth in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) most notably.
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