Team Hawkes confirmed this morning Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard will run in Saturday’s Cox Plate which sets up a highly-anticipated rematch with Gai Waterhouse-trained star Pierro.
The Casino Prince colt underwent a final piece of work this morning and impressed John Hawkes enough to warrant his place in Saturday’s Moonee Valley feature.
Many believe it was a forgone conclusion that All Too Hard would contest the Cox Plate but Hawkes’ co-trainer son Wayne said this morning the decision was only made after the track gallop.
“Dad wanted to see him work this morning,” Hawkes said.
“It was down to this morning, how he pulled up.”
Both colts will be given every chance on Saturday, with All Too Hard receiving barrier three and Pierro to come from barrier seven.
Speaking at the barrier draw, Hawkes said All Too Hard and Pierro, along with fellow Waterhouse three-year-old Proisir, are the horses to beat.
“I just reckon the three-year-olds this year just might have the wood on them,” Hawkes said.
Waterhouse echoed the thoughts of Hawkes and is confident Pierro is ready to return to the winner’s circle this weekend.
“I think the three-year-olds are really special this year. We’ve got really, really creamy three-year-olds in this race with All Too Hard, Proisir and Pierro,” Waterhouse said.
“I think the distance will suit [Pierro] him better, I think the way the race [goes] will suit him.”
Waterhouse received first pick at the barrier draw with mare More Joyous and surprisingly chose barrier 11.
“The reason is there might be some squeeze barriers and it might just give her a little bit more room to move,” Waterhouse said.
The highly-rated Green Moon received a favourable barrier five position but New Zealand’s Ocean Park wasn’t so lucky and will have to do some early work from barrier nine.
Fourteen horses in total will line up in the Cox Plate, with other notable barriers Shoot Out (4), Rekindled Interest (1), Southern Speed (13), Proisir (10) and Happy Trails (8).