Hooked for John Thompson has won the $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) in cracking speed falling only 0.2 seconds short of the track record at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Hooked and Craig Williams win a blistering Crystal Mile victory, picture quentinjlang.com
Craig Williams took advantage of the inside barrier and guided his mount to a great start working his way up along the inside of the track in the beginning stages.
Havana Rey with Linda Meech speared up toward the front and at the first bend and crossed the four-year-old to take up the lead.
Maintaining his line, the son of Casino Prince stayed on the fence and continued at an unremitting pace.
Out of the final turn and into the home straight, the $4.00 TAB.com.au starter joined the leader and when asked to increase the tempo, answered strongly with a three-length lead in the concluding 100m.
Bull Point (Fastnet Rock) for Chris Waller and Ryan Moore, and Desert Jeuney (Desert King) from the Blackiston stable with James Winks, made slight ground on the winner nearing the post and crossed the line together for a photo finish, with the Waller entrant successful in claiming second.
The time was 1.34.98 with the final 600m in 36.12. The official margins were 1 ¾ lengths by Half Head.
Unsure on how the horse would perform following a shaky trackwork session on Tuesday, Craig Williams was delighted with the strength displayed on the track on race day.
“We brought him here (Moonee Valley) on Tuesday morning, and on his work, you couldn’t have him. But John (Thompson) knows the horse really well. We had to just tick him over”, said Williams.
“He did get on the wrong leg but there’s no doubt after that win they can all have a Schweppes now”, Williams joked.
Similarly, John Thompson admitted that the midweek training experience left him questioning how the four-year-old would run.
“He got completely lost here (in trackwork) on Tuesday morning and on Craig’s words then, he said that on that he will run last. But we have brought horses here on the Tuesday and they have had a good look around and on game day they have really switched on and thankfully he has done the same”, Thompson disclosed.
The trainer confirmed that the Emirates Stakes at Flemington on Saturday 8 November was still the primary target for this campaign.
“The Emirates (Stakes) is his Grand Final and this was the run in-between. Weight-for-age probably doesn’t suit us but he has been going well”, advised Thompson.
Hooked, picture quentinjlang.com
Hooked is an entire by Casino Prince out of the Lure (USA) mare Absolute Lure and is owned by Ultra Racing Syndicate (Manager: A Chong) after he was purchased by Victorian business man Sean Buckley for $600,000 at the Patinack Farm Complete Dispersal at the Magic Millions sale complex at Bundall in early October.
A week later he ran third in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap over 1600m at Randwick in his new emerald and green silks before being prepared for a Victorian campaign. His record now stands at four wins and two third placings for stakes of $620,750.
Hooked, photo finish picture Racing.com