Trainer John O’Shea has put the blinkers on Hauraki to help his chances of securing his first Group 1 win in the $650,000 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Hauraki has been placed three times at Group 1 level, twice over the Sydney Autumn Carnival at weight for age and continued his good form into the Queensland Winter Carnival with a second to Doomben Cup rival Leebaz in the Group 2 $358,000 All-New Jaguar F-Pace A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 7.
“Hauraki has been a very honest horse for us right from the start. He’s also a Group 2 winner and a Derby placegetter and he’s run well in some of this country’s best races, so he deserves a Group 1 against his name,” O’Shea said.
“He ran very well last start, he had to make a very long run and it just told a bit at the end. But he’s drawn ideally this time and we’ll put the blinkers on just to help him focus better.”
As a three year old Hauraki finished second to Mongolian Khan in the 2015 Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
The Reset gelding then carried his good form into his four year old season and during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Carnival ran third to Winx in the Group 1 $600,000 Precise Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick followed by a second to The United States in the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
Hauraki has drawn the pole position in the ten horse Doomben Cup field and will be ridden by Godolphin’s number one stable rider James McDonald who has been aboard the four year old at his last three starts.
Hauraki has been installed the favourite for the Doomben Cup and is currently marked at $3.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of stablemate It’s Somewhat at $5.50.
It’s Somewhat is also coming off a run in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes which saw him finish fifth to Leebaz, beaten three and a quarter lengths.
“It’s Somewhat was wide all the way in the Hollindale and got into a bit of trouble at a vital time, so it wasn’t a bad result,” O’Shea said.
The five year old has drawn wide again with Damian Browne retaining the mount after riding him at the Gold Coast.
Market order for the Doomben Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.50 Hauraki, $5.50 It’s Somewhat, $6 Volkstok’N’Barrell, $9 Our Ivanhowe, Noble Protector, $10 Spiritjim, $12 Leebaz, $14 Lady Le Fay, $17 Messene, $18 Maurus.