Hauraki is something of the forgotten Godolphin runner in Saturday’s 2016 Cox Plate field, but champion hoop Dwayne Dunn believes that the horse is capable of scoring a big upset in the Moonee Valley feature race.
Hauraki has been one of the formed runners of Australian racing throughout the entire 2016 calendar to date and will enter the Cox Plate 2016 off the back of a maiden and dominant win at the highest level in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 1st.
Dunn concedes that the Cox Plate has justifiably been billed as a match race between Winx and Godolphin’s top entrant Hartnell, but believes the form of his mount heading into the race is nothing to be scoffed at.
“Interesting race. It’s probably been beaten-up as a two horse war and that’s what it should be,” Dunn told Racing Ahead.
“Hopefully we’ll get on the back of their coattails and if there’s a chink in the armour or they bash each other up, it gives me my opportunity.
“The horse has been in fantastic form and goes into the race as good as ever, so if something swings my way with luck in running, I’m sure I’m going to be there late.
“I would suggest that Winx at this stage. She looked terrific this morning, she sort of has the wood on the other horse, but they’re two very, very good horses and it’s going to be a great match race.”
Running a close second in the 2015 edition of the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m), Hauraki ran on for third behind Winx in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) upon resuming this year before placing a pleasing third in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
Placing second behind The United States in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), the Reset gelding failed to handle the late pace when seventh in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), but closed his campaign second in each of the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
Rated only an outsider in the Group 2 Tramway Handicap (1400m) first-up this time, Hauraki produced a huge late turn of foot to win the race, and ran second to Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) in his only other start prior to the Epsom Handicap on September 17th.
Allocated barrier 8, Hauraki is currently available at 2016 Cox Plate odds of $18 with Ladbrokes Australia.