Trainer Wayne Hawkes is hoping the bigger Flemington track will help Messene produce his best form when he lines up in the Group 1 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Messene put in one of his worst runs from his fifteen start career and Hawkes was at a loose end to explain the gelding’s second up ninth of eleven behind Dissident in the Group 1 $400,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30.
“Yes, he was disappointing last time, he was struggling from the 600m and it was the first time in his career he has put in a poor run,” Hawkes told Racing Network.
But Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, is hoping the step up to 1600m on the more spacious Flemington track will suit the six year old better than Caulfield.
“This time we get him to 1600-metres on a lovely big track at Flemington,” Hawkes said.
“There’s no reason not to run him, he has worked very well.”
Messene ran a mighty first up race when narrowly beaten by Sweet Idea in the Group 2 $175,000 McGrath Estate Agents Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 9 but Hawkes is dismissing the second up hoodoo as the reason for his below par run in the Memsie Stakes.
“We’re not really a stable that believes in the second-up syndrome,” Hawkes said.
Messene rose up through the ranks during the Sydney Autumn Carnival earlier in the year and after winning the Group 2 $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 22, was sent out one of the top fancies in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 12, the first day of ‘The Championships’.
But the heavy track conditions didn’t suite the Lonhro gelding and he plodded in the straight to finish seventh behind the Chris Waller trio of Sacred Falls, Royal Descent and Weary.
Messene has drawn barrier nine in the eleven horse Makybe Diva Stakes which is loaded with Group 1 winners.
The 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon will lead the field out with Chad Schofield to ride and will jump from barrier seven at his first run back for the Spring.
Stalemate Fawkner is also resuming and has drawn well at barrier 3 with his Caulfield Cup winning jockey Nick Hall to ride again.
Triiple Group 1 winner Boban, Glyn Schofield, gate four, and Australian Cup winner Super Cool, Glen Boss, gate five, will both appreciate the step up to 1600m.
The Peter Moody trained Dissident (barrier 6) is aiming for back to back Group 1 wins after a dominate display to win the Memsie Stakes with Ben Melham retaining the ride.
Premiership winning trainer Darren Weir is expecting Puissance De Lune to be at his peak on Saturday and has drawn well at gate two with Brad Rawiller to continue his association with the big grey.