All Too Hard to Make Early February Return

Superstar colt All Too Hard will return to racing at Caulfield in early February, it’s just a matter of in which race.

All Too Hard

All Too Hard will kick off his autumn campaign at Caulfield in early February. Photo by: Steven Downden.

Co-trainer John Hawkes has confirmed the glamour three-year-old will begin his autumn campaign either in his own age group in the Listed Manfred Stakes (1200m) on February 2 or at the top tier against the older horses in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1600m) a week later.

The experienced horseman, who trains the Caulfield Guineas winner with sons Michael and Wayne, said jumpouts over the next couple of weeks will determine which path he takes.

“He’ll be ready at the end of the month. Whether that be the Manfred or the Orr, the next couple of weeks will tell,” Hawkes told Radio Sports National.

Hawkes has not yet mapped out the rest of the autumn schedule for the half-brother to Black Caviar but hinted he could contest the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 2 before heading to Sydney for other Group 1 targets such as the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and the George Ryder Stakes (1500m).

“Possibly the Australian Guineas and then we’ll head to Sydney,” Hawkes said.

“We’re just taking it race by race and if he performs in the first one, we’ll just continue to step up the distances and the races depending on how he performs.”

All Too Hard showed he was a special three-year-old in the autumn when he backed up his upset Caulfield Guineas win over Pierro to finish a close second behind Ocean Park in the Cox Plate.

Hawkes is confident the son of Casino Prince is again up to taking on older rivals in the autumn, suggesting it could even be an advantageous route to take.

“They’re still reasonably well off with their weight and, the older horses, sometimes they’re easier to beat than what it is in your own age bracket,” he said.

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