The Gai Waterhouse trained Hampton Court will be short of his best when he takes on a slick field of three year olds in the Group 2 $200,000 Blackwoods CRC Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Hampton court is rated as one of the outsiders of the field at $34 and Waterhouse’s Racing Manager Adrian Bott seems to think the bookies have it right.
Bott said that the Redoute’s Choice colt definitely won’t be at his best until he gets up to 1600m or more further into his Autumn Carnival campaign.
“He’s done plenty of work but obviously this distance (1400m) is short of his best and whatever he does tomorrow he will improve on,” Bott told Racing Network.
“We’re looking for a really strong return from him so we know we can expect a really good prep from him.”
As is the norm for Waterhouse horses, Hampton Court has had two barrier trials in preparation for his return to the racetrack after being given a rest following his successful Spring Carnival.
Hampton Court went from being a restricted class galloper to a Group 1 winner during the 2014 Spring Carnival with a win in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
Waterhouse then took the three year old to Melbourne where he finished midfield behind Preferment in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 1.
Bott said that a second attempt to win a Derby was still not confirmed and Waterhouse would decide later in the campaign if Hampton Court would run in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 4 or take on the older horses at the end of the carnival.
His immediate goals will be the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 7 and the Group 1 $500,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill two weeks later.
“The Derby has not been confirmed,” Bott said.
“We saw in the spring that perhaps his best distance is 2000-metres, so he’ll go to the Randwick Guineas (1600m) then the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) before Gai has to make any decisions.”
“We can either go to the open-age races or he can run in the Derby if we want – Gai will make those calls when the time is right.”
Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win heads the market order at $4.20 for the Hobartville Stakes ahead of Scissor Kick at $5.50, Hallowed Crown and Panzer Division at $6, Sweynesse at $8.50 with Delectation.