Co-trainer Lee Freedman is delighted with the condition of Hazard heading into the 2015 Cockram Stakes, but he admits that she faces a tough assignment from the outside gate in the Group 3 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hazard stamped herself as a mare to follow when she took out the Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16 and the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on June 6 and Freedman told Racing Ahead that she is just as forward ahead of the Cockram Stakes this weekend.
“I am really happy with her,” Freedman said.
“She only had a brief let-up after Queensland, so she has retained quite a bit of fitness and she trialed well a couple of weeks back.
“Her issue is more the 17 barrier with 58, but I can’t have her in much better condition with 58.
“She is every bit as good in my opinion as she was when she won the Dane Ripper.
“We just have to go there and hope that there isn’t too much against her.”
Hazard has shown a degree of tactical versatility during her racing career to date, but she produced the best performance of her career to date when she was settled off the speed and given the opportunity to finish strongly in the Dane Ripper Stakes.
Freedman said that he expects jockey Ben Melham to ride the Flying Spur mare in a similar fashion in the Cockram Stakes and he does not want to see the six-year-old caught in a speed battle in the early stages of the race.
“In these quality mares races there is always reasonable speed in them,” Freedman said.
“I haven’t been able to discuss with Ben how we will ride her, but I wouldn’t think that we would be trying to hunt up from 17 to take up the speed.
“We rode her from 17 in the Dane Ripper and she responded well to that, so given the draw I would imagine that is how we are going to ride her.”
Hazard is set to have her next race start in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12 and could be given another opportunity at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26.
Hazard is currently available at 2015 Cockram Stakes odds of $8.50 with Ladbrokes and is on the fourth line of betting behind Vezalay ($3.50), Cosmic Endeavour ($4.60) and Girl Guide ($6).