James McDonald is set to ride Hauraki in the 2015 Caulfield Cup and jockey James McDonald is confident that the four-year-old will have no problems handling the Melbourne way of going in the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hauraki failed to fire in two race starts in Melbourne during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 and many racing experts question how the Reset gelding will handle the Melbourne way of going in the Caulfield Cup.
McDonald made the trip to Melbourne to ride Hauraki in track work yesterday morning and he told Sky Racing HQ that he does not have any concerns about how the Australian Derby placegetter getting around Caulfield this weekend.
“He gave me a glowing report,” McDonald said.
“He felt brilliant.
“The pots are out that he doesn’t handle the Melbourne way of going, but out of all the horses that I rode this morning he felt brilliant around that track.
“He came through his gallop in flying colours, I was really wrapped with the way that he worked and he worked home strongly.”
McDonald steered Hauraki to victory in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28 and he rode the talented entire in the Australian Derby, but he is yet to ride Hauraki this preparation – despite being keen to ride him when he finished a close second behind McDonald’s mount Complacent in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on October 3.
The leading hoop said that he was thrilled to get the chance to ride Hauraki again in the Caulfield Cup and he is confident that it will take a very talented stayer to deny him a maiden win in the Caulfield Cup.
“I am really looking forward to getting on his back,” McDonald said.
“He has been one of my favourites all the way through and I have had a fantastic record on him – I think I have ridden him three times for a second and two wins and that second was behind Winx.
“Hopefully he can produce a Caulfield Cup win because I am well overdue, I’ve had a lot of placings but never cracked the number one stall.
“I know how good he is on the day and if the track is firm and he relaxes it is going to take a top horse to hold him out.”
Hauraki is currently available at 2015 Caulfield Cup odds of $9 with Ladbrokes and he is on the second line of betting behind dominant favourite Mongolian Khan ($4.20).