Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has revealed that he believes Leebaz is in career best form heading into the 2015 Doomben Cup in Brisbane this weekend.
Leebaz started his racing career with a flat performance in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 and he was slightly disappointing in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28 before he missed the start when 11th in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
The Zabeel gelding returned to a semblance of his best form with a second place finish behind Gypsy Diamond in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 18 before he stamped himself as a leading Doomben Cup contender with an impressive win in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at April 25.
Hawkes told Racing Ahead that the form of Leebaz had been underrated heading into the Hollindale Stakes and he said that there is no doubt the five-year-old is in career best form ahead of the Doomben Cup.
“All his runs have been good,” Hawkes said.
“His run the week before in Sydney was good, he blew the start in the Doncaster and he only got beaten by five and a half lengths and he is not a wet tracker either, so to get beaten by only five lengths in a bottomless Doncaster when you blow the start is pretty good.
“He is in good form and he ran second to Streama in this race last year, she had the sit on us the whole way, Blake (Shinn) rode Streama 13 out of 10 and she nailed us.
“We have basically all but done the job in this race last year and he has done an absolute treat since winning at the Gold Coast.”
There does not appear to be a great deal of early speed in the 2015 Doomben Cup field and Hawkes is confident that veteran jockey Jim Byrne will not have a problem finding a nice spot in the first half of the field for Leebaz when he jumps from barrier 11.
“He is going to be up on the pace and he is going to be in the first four or five,” Hawkes said.
“When you are there you are going to have a good run for a long way.”
Leebaz is currently available at 2015 Doomben Cup odds of $5 and he is on the second line of betting behind Toowoomba Cup winner Pornichet ($4.20).