All Too Hard all but confirmed a trip to Royal Ascot with a stunning win in the All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick today.
Some raised queries about the star colt’s ability to perform in the Sydney direction but he showed he is now a complete package to jump cleanly and stalk the strong lead set by Rain Affair.
When jockey Dwayne Dunn let him loose in the straight All Too Hard got his big engine moving and he mowed down Rain Affair who remains a Group 1 maiden despite a brave effort.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said they will wait and let the dust settle before the all-clear is given for a Royal Ascot trip but indicated it is very much on the cards.
“We’ll talk with the owners tomorrow and we’ll probably know in the next couple of days,” Hawkes said.
All Too Hard is nominated for both the Queen Anne Stakes (2000m) and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m). If he runs in the Diamond Jubilee he will attempt to follow in the footsteps of older sister Black Caviar who won the race in thrilling style last year.
If the four-time Group 1 winner does make the UK journey Hawkes is confident he has what it takes to cut it on the world stage.
“He hasn’t raced for 60 odd days. To do what he’s done today and pull out all stops, it takes a gutsy horse,” Hawkes said.
“He’s an absolute athlete, he’s a racehorse and he’s got a big heart.
“You can’t describe him. He’s got the family, he’s got the pedigree. He kicked some arse.”
Jockey Dwayne Dunn suggested All Too Hard still has improvement in him ahead of the possible overseas trip.
“Today he had to really try hard to run down Rain Affair,” Dunn said.
“It’s a big thrill and it’s a great effort from John [Hawkes] to get him back to where he is.
“He’s on the way up and he’s still got improvement.”
It was the third straight Group 1 win for All Too Hard who won the CF Orr Stakes and the Futurity Stakes in February.
Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente was running at a trip well below his most suitable but produced a strong finish to claim third-place honours.