Craftiness To Face Toughest Test In Hall Mark Stakes

By: Thomas Hackett
April 15th, 2015

Craftiness will make his debut at Group level in the 2015 Hall Mark Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday and trainer Joe Pride is excited to see how the progressive fares in what is easily the toughest test of his racing career to date.

Craftiness scored a narrow win over Seeking More in the Byron Spurling’s Last Stand Handicap. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Craftiness scored a narrow win over Seeking More in the Byron Spurling’s Last Stand Handicap. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Craftiness made his racing debut under the care of Guy Walter in May last year and he was transferred to the care of Pride following the passing of Walter in June last year.

The Starcraft gelding suffered his maiden defeat when he made his debut for Pride in the Sportsyear Handicap at Warwick Farm in November last year, but he went on to take out the Place Multi Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on December 3, the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on December 20 and the Tab.Com.Au Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 3,

Craftiness was sent to Brisbane to start his autumn campaign in the Byron Spurling’s Last Stand Handicap (1050m) at Doomben on March 28 and he survived a late scare to record a narrow victory over Seeking More.

Pride admits that Craftiness has not taken on the highest level of competition during his racing career to date, but he believes that the four-year-old is worthy of an opportunity at Group level in the 2015 Hall Mark Stakes this weekend.

“Craftiness is obviously a really progressive horse that has really met much yet, but whatever he has met he has managed to defeat,” Pride said.

“He has only been beaten once and that was first-up last preparation.

“He is a lovely style of horse and he just seems to be taking all before him, so it is a nice step-up on Saturday.

“He really has to lift up because the opposition is a lot better than what he has met, but I am more than happy to give him his opportunity there.”

Pride is set to have four runners in the 2015 Hall Mark Stakes field and Craftiness will be joined in the race by stablemates Rock Sturdy, Target In Sight and Rain Affair.

Rock Sturdy loomed as a genuine Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) contender during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival after he scored an impressive win in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 27, but he missed the race due to a tendon injury and has not been seen at the races since.

Pride elected to give Rock Sturdy three barrier trials ahead of his return to racing and he is confident that the Fastnet Rock entire will perform well in the Hall Mark Stakes this weekend.

“Rock Sturdy is a very promising colt on his way back from an injury enforced spell,” Pride said.

“He has had three trials now to get ready for this, he is in terrific order and I expect him to run well.”

Craftiness and Rock Sturdy will both make the trip to Queensland for the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival if they perform well in the Hall Mark Stakes this weekend.

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