Blinkers fire up Hardham for Danehill Stakes

A dashing gallop with the blinkers on at Caulfield this morning has convinced trainer Mick Price to run Hardham in the Group 2 $200,000 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Defcon, above in green colours, is the early favourite for the Danehill Stakes at Flemington. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Defcon, above in green colours, is the early favourite for the Danehill Stakes at Flemington. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Price had originally planned to give Hardham four weeks in between runs after the Redoute’s Choice colt was slightly disappointing when sixth to Defcon in the Group 3 $150,000 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 27.

The Group 3 $175,000 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24 was to be Hardham’s next run but after jockey Craig Newitt gave Price a glowing report following his strong hit out, the top Caulfield trainer had a change of heart.

“I put blinkers on him this morning and Craig Newitt rode him and he showed a good turn of foot and a bit of dash,” Price told

“Damien Oliver saw the work and said ‘that’s what he needed that horse’, he needed blinkers.”

Damien Oliver had been aboard Hardham for his two runs this preparation for a close up third in the Group 3 $150,000 KS Environmental Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 13 followed the sixth in the McNeil Stakes.

Price intends to keep the blinkers on Hardham for the Danehill Stakes.

“I was going to give him four weeks between runs (into the Guineas Prelude) but (the Danehill) is a Group 2 race and I’ve kept him fresh,” Price said.

“Today was his only gallop going into the run, so for what’s at stake and what’s to be gained if he does go well I’m definitely going to run him with the blinkers on.”

Price has also nominated the unbeaten Yu Long Sheng Hui and Sandown winner Inspired Estelle for the Danehill Stakes.

The Danehill Stakes for the three year olds has attracted twenty nominations, including the McNeil Stakes trifecta of Defcon, Highland Beat and Wazzenme.

The Peter and Paul Snowden trained Defcon could not have been more impressive in winning at his first try at the Melbourne way of racing at Caulfield, but the Sydney colt will find it all new again racing down the Flemington straight for the first time in the Danehill Stakes.

Early betting for the Danehill Stakes at has Defcon the $6 favourite ahead of Linsday Park stablemates Highland Beat at $8 and Dam Ready at $8.50 while Hardham is listed as a $13 chance.

Market order for the Danehill Stakes at $6 Defcon, $8 Highland Beat, $8.50 Dam Ready, $9 Derryn, Samara Dancer, Saracino, Wazzenme, $11 Archives, Missrock, $13 Hardham, Yu Long Sheng Hui, $15 Hair Trigger, $21 Dreams Aplenty, Valliano, $26 Awake In Grinzing, Inspired  Estelle, $31 Trenchant, $41 I’m Telling Ya, $51 Invincible Joy, $Jaws Od Steel.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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