Hussler back in work
Weekend Hussler is back in work at Caulfield and trainer Ross McDonald has outlined his autumn campaign which will take in races in Dubai and Hong Kong and could net connections nearly $10 million.
McDonald said the seven-time Group One winner would resume in the Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on February 14.
Two weeks later the Hussonet four-year-old would contest the Futurity Stakes (1600m) on his home track.
Weekend Hussler would then be flown over for the Dubai Duty Free (1777m) on March 28 and a month later would tackle the Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin.
McDonald said the huge prizemoney and associated bonuses for the Asian Mile challenge which takes in the Futurity, Dubai Duty Free and the Champions Mile meant Weekend Hussler could earn nearly $10 million if he won the three events.
"We’ll probably be in Dubai for two weeks before the race," said McDonald who recently travelled to Dubai with his wife Margaret on a fact-finding mission straight after the Melbourne Cup carnival.
"We went over to have a look at the stabling and the tracks and how the whole set-up works.
"We went to trackwork three times while we were there to get an idea of how the place runs. It’s very good there."
McDonald said he hadn’t been to Hong Kong but said the HKJC had agreed to rubberise a box for the gelding where he will be in quarantine.
"They are pretty keen to get him there," the trainer said.
Weekend Hussler, who has won 12 of his 17 starts and more than $3 million in prizemoney, has not been beaten second, third or fourth-up.
McDonald said Weekend Hussler had spelled well since failing to stay the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup when 12th to All The Good, beaten just under six lengths, on October 18.
"He was in the paddock for four weeks, he’s done well. We haven’t weighed him but he’s put on a little bit of weight and he’s grown a little bit. He looks super," McDonald said.
"He came back to the stables last Thursday before the storms came. I didn’t want him to get hit by lightning.
"He did some work on the water treadmill on the weekend and had his first morning on the track on Monday."
Meanwhile, Turnbull Stakes winner Littorio will have a light autumn aimed at the Doncaster Hcp (1600m) at Randwick, according to trainer Nigel Blackiston.
The Flemington trainer said the plan was for Littorio to go into the Doncaster second-up.
He said the Bellotto four-year-old jarred up on the firm ground when 13th to Viewed in the Melbourne Cup after which he was spelled.
"He had a very tough spring and we will give him a couple of runs over the autumn and then come back for the spring," the Flemington trainer said.
"He’ll be back in work the last week of December. The Doncaster is a high-pressure mile (1600m) race and I think he’s the right horse to have a crack at it."