The John O’Shea trained Hauraki remains the favourite for the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday and gets his chance to breakthrough for his initial Group 1 win.
Hauraki, the $5.50 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au, has been Group 1 placed on five occasions but gets his chance to carry the Godolphin royal blue colours to victory this weekend following his courageous last start second to super mare Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 17.
The Reset five year old also chased home Winx when third in the Group 1 $600,000 Precise Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick during this year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival.
“He has the ability to win a Group One race, he’s just run into slightly better horses a few times,” O’Shea said.
Hauraki was initially tested as a stayer and after running second to Mongolian Khan in the 2015 Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick as a three year old, went on to finished eighth the same year in the Spring the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
But O’Shea has kept Hauraki to the shorter distances this preparation and he could be rewarded with a Group 1 win.
“Especially the way Hauraki is going, he’s thrived during this preparation. John (O’Shea) clearly made the right decision to keep him to the shorter trips this time in,” Godolphin Australia managing director Henry Plumptre said.
The stables number one rider James McDonald takes the ride again and the pair combined to score a first up win in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 3 followed by their second in the George Main Stakes.
Hauraki has drawn a bit awkwardly at barrier ten in the thirteen horse field but McDonald is riding in great form and will give him a good run.
Last start Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes winner Palentino is also well up the market order for the Epsom and shares the second line of betting with the Chris Waller trained McCreery at $6.
Also under the $10 mark are the Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper and Fabrizio from Tulloch Lodge at $8.
Market order for The Epsom at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Hauraki, $6 Palentino, McCreery, $8 Happy Clapper, Fabrizio, $11 Mackintosh, $13 Le Romain, $14 Sons Of John, $16 Heavens Above, $18 Vanbrugh, $21 Torgersen, $31 Dibayani, $41 Mighty Lucky.