Black Caviar’s half brother All Too Hard is still not a confirmed starter for this year’s Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7.
Melbourne head of Team Hawkes, Wayne Hawkes said that All Too Hard’s next run would be in the Group 2 $175,000 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 31, only a week before the Golden Slipper.
The fact that Hawkes has decided to run the two year old a week before the Slipper is against the pattern for their previous Slipper runners and the Group 1 $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 14 is now the likely alternative.
“We’ll run him on Saturday then we’ll just see how he is and decide after the Pago Pago,” Hawkes said.
All Too Hard is currently second favourite for the Slipper at $6 behind Blue Diamond winner Samaready who is at $3.40.
Hawkes’ last two Slipper runners Real Saga who ran fourth in 2009 and Forensics who won the Slipper in 2007 both had their final hit outs two weeks before.
The Casino Prince colt has created a huge impression with two wins from two starts in Melbourne, but the Hawkes are in no hurry to push the colt too hard, too early.
John Hawkes said after his first up win in the Listed $100,000 Talindert Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on February 18 that All Too Hard would be suited over a longer journey and would improve in his three year old season.
His thoughts weren’t altered after the Group 2 $250,000 Henry Bucks Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 10 when All Too Hard romped in by four lengths with the makings of a future a topliner.
The Paul Perry trained Stratum is one of only three in the last twenty-seven years to have won the Pago Pago and gone on to win the Slipper in 2005, the others being Inpsired in 1984 and Roryy’s Jester in 1985.
The 1600m fo the Group 1 $400,000 Champagne Stakes at Randwick on April 21 will suit All Too Hard perfectly and a win in any of the Autumn two year old Group 1s would be a bonus for the Hawkes team.