By Jordan Gerrans
Team Hulbert will pin their TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival hopes on last-start Listed level winner Hail Manhattan and up-and-coming stayer Criminal Defence.
The Doomben-based barn of father and son training duo, Peter (pictured) and Will, train a dozen or so horses around the south-east and are hopeful of snagging a black-type race or two over the upcoming carnival.
Members Cup winner Hail Manhattan is still a little while away from returning to the races and is likely to be set towards the Eye Liner Stakes or the Glasshouse Handicap in June and July.
In the meantime, Will is optimistic Criminal Defence - a three-year-old chestnut - may just become a Group 1 Queensland Derby contender on May 29.
Criminal Defence has won just once from nine tries and has continued to step up in trip this preparation, with the 2400-metre Derby likely to suit perfectly.
“We are hoping to head to the Queensland Derby with him,” Will said.
“His acid test will be Wednesday week over 1800 metres to see if he can stay or not, he races like he will be able to stay and he looks like a stayer.
“We will test him out in that then hopefully progress to the Rough Habit on May 15 and then to the Derby.
“He has only won a maiden so far but he always gets back and runs on in his races.
“We have not had the chance to test him over longer distances yet, which we are looking forward to doing.”
Hulbert stable apprentice, Adin Thompson, broke in Criminal Defence and had the promising gelding at his house at the request of owners from the horse’s earliest days.
“I always thought he had ability and he showed that in the race he won on the Sunshine Coast,” Thompson said of his 1200-metre maiden victory last year.
“He is a horse that we have not seen go over his distance yet and we believe he can run over further.
“Hopefully the staying trip will suit him next Wednesday.”
On stable star Hail Manhattan, who has won almost $200,000 for connections, the Hulberts are likely to bring the bay back following the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.
Will thinks a black-type race at the Sunshine Coast or Ipswich would be ideal for the four-year-old gelding.
Hail Manhattan is two wins and a second place finish at Caloundra from five starts in his career.