Team Hawkes co-trainer Wayne Hawkes expects glamour three year old All Too Hard to rise to the grand heights of two of the greatest racehorse to go through their stables, Octagonal and Lonhro.
Octagonal was the winner of nine Group 1 races from 1994 to 1997 while Lonhro won eleven Group 1s from 2001 to 2004.
“He’s got that X factor. I can’t wait to see him back and you only get that ‘can’t wait’ feeling with those really great horses,” Hawkes said.
All Too Hard to set to resume racing on Saturday in his new colours, the green and white of Vinery Stud, in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
And Hawkes and regular jockey Dwayne Dunn both agree the Caulfield Guineas winner is bigger and stronger for his first appearance of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Nathan Tinkler sold All Too Hard in a $25 million package deal to Vinery Stud after running second to Ocean Park in last year’s Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 and the three year old continues to impress the stable.
“As silly as it sounds I won’t be surprised if this horse improves out of sight this campaign – and if he does, look out,” Hawkes said.
“All the signs are just there. He’s not necessarily bigger but he’s stronger and more mature. Everything he’s done this time in has been unbelievable. He’s just a baby but he’s learning all the time.”
Dunn agrees with Hawkes and was full of superlatives after partnering the half-brother to the great Black Caviar in a recent jump out.
“Bigger, stronger, better,” Dunn said.
“Last prep he wouldn’t take me any where. He would miss the start, you would have to shove him and he looked basic,”
“Whereas the first prep he really took you somewhere and he exploded and that’s what he done in his early trials.
“Obviously, he’s going to be fully ready to go to the races when he gets there.”
All Too Hard struggled in Sydney in the early part of the Spring and developed the bad habit of missing the start, but on returning to Melbourne and the addition of the barrier blanket, Hawkes was able to turn his form around.
After being beaten decisively on two occasions by two year old Triple Crown winner Pierro in Sydney in the Autumn and the early part of the Spring, All Too Hard was able to turn the tables and beat Pierro in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 13 and the Cox Plate with the three year old finishing second and third behind the Kiwi Ocean Park.
“We started using the barrier blanket and look what he did in the Cox Plate – he jumped five lengths quicker than anything else,” Hawkes said.
Dunn puts All Too Hard’s superior Melbourne form done to his overall demeanour as opposed to his ability to handle the Melbourne way of going better.
“When he’s in Sydney, he’s really dirty whereas he just seems to love it in Melbourne,” Dunn said.
“I just don’t think it is left or right hand, I just think it is the way things have unfolded for him at certain times. He’s just not as happy up there as he is here.
“But, I’m sure he will win a good race in Sydney.”
The Orr Stakes has attracted eleven nominations including the multiple Kiwi Group 1 winner King Mufhasa, Doomben Cup winner Mawingo and Perth Group 1 winner Mr Moet.