A freshened up Divine Prophet will wear blinkers for the first time when he takes on the older horses at weight for age in the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Divine Prophet has been freshened up following a disappointing Melbourne Autumn Carnival campaign that saw the three year old unplaced from two runs and even though co-trainer John Hawkes couldn’t find an excuse for his poor showings, he still has faith in the Caulfield Guineas winner.
“We couldn’t find a reason for his two Melbourne starts but he is a colt and colts can do that sometimes,’’ Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his sons Wayne and Michael, told The Daily Telegraph.
“But he has freshened up really well and he is a very good horse when right.’’
At his first run back after winning the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival, Divine Prophet was always near the tail of the field when ninth against the older horses in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11.
Divine Prophet then lined up against his own age in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 4 but again never made any impression from back in the field to finish seventh to Hey Doc.
As well as Hawkes having confidence in his ability, Divine Prophet has the advantage of not having raced through a wet Sydney Autumn Carnival like most of his All Aged Stakes rivals and has done all of his lead up work in drier conditions from the Team Hawkes’ Flemington base.
Tommy Berry takes over from Dwayne Dunn on Divine Prophet who has drawn barrier eight in the ten horse field.
Divine Prophet, the only three year old in the weight for age All Aged Stakes field, is marked as $12 at Ladbrokes.com.au who have English at $3.50 and Le Romain at $3.60 fighting for the number one position at the top of the market order.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained English and Kris Lees’ Le Romain both have strong Autumn Carnival form around Hawkes’ super sprinter Chautauqua.
English was beaten a head by Chautauqua in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 1 while Le Romain beat the grey flash when they ran the quinella in the Group 1 $500,000 BMW Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 4.
Le Romain then beat Chautauqua home again when they finished second and third behind Winx in the Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18.
English has drawn in close at barrier two with Blake Shinn to ride while Le Romain will jump from the outside gate with Hugh Bowman in charge.