Back in early May, megastar Hooked On Scotch returned from a four-month enforced layoff and won brilliantly on G2 Warrnambool Cup night.
But the comeback was short-lived as, at his next start 15 days later, he sustained minor muscle-related injuries when seventh to You Tell Me at Sandown.
It precipitated another two weeks off the racing scene, but the “fastest chaser on the planet” does a ‘take 2’ – this time at Shepparton tomorrow.
Okay, it’s not the group racing arena to which we’ve become accustomed to with Hooked On Scotch but trainer Jason Thompson is taking a conservative approach.
“He missed the start and got bottled up at Sandown, but he wouldn’t be in if he wasn’t spot on,” Thompson said.
Hooked On Scotch, who has drawn Box 8 in Race 4 at 4.24pm, will need to be at his best tomorrow as the field comprises some talented speedsters – including Zipping Zarbo (Box 3), who has won 13 races from 16 starts, and G2 Shepparton Cup finalist Revelation (Box 6). But it should be remembered that he set a new Sandown 515m track record (28.94sec) from Box 8 in a heat of last year’s G1 Melbourne Cup.
Moving forward, Thompson has ‘bigger fish to fry’ with Hooked On Scotch. He advised that the champion sprinter’s next major assignment will be the forthcoming G1 Brisbane Cup series (520m) at Albion Park.
Owned by father-and-son breeding team Michael and Darren Puleio, Hooked On Scotch (Dec ’17 Barcia Bale x Nicki Fields) has won 13 races from 21 starts, with stakes totalling $355,865.
A winner of five group race finals, including two G1s, Hooked On Scotch strung together six consecutive wins between early September and late October last year – including the G1 Adelaide Cup, G2 Geelong Cup and G3 Speed Star.
Last year, he also won the G1 Hobart Thousand and G3 Shootout and finished third in the G1 Melbourne Cup.
WATCH: Hooked On Scotch (8) establish a new 515m track record (29.94sec) in a heat of last year’s G1 Melbourne Cup at Sandown.