Happy Zero is set to have his second Australian start in the Group 1 Manikato Stakesat Moonee Valley this Friday night after producing an encouraging performance on debut.
The seven-year-old gelding finished sixth in the Group 3 McEwen Stakes behind Buffering earlier this month after picking up strongly in the concluding stages of the race.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes, who trains the Hong Kong import alongside Michael and John Hawkes, was impressed with what he saw last start.
“It was a perfect run… we’re still learning about this horse and that run told us a lot,” he said.
Happy Zero was trained by John Moore in Hong Kong until he was transferred to the Hawkes stable following a disappointing showing in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“He (Moore) filled us in as much as he could but obviously the horse is different in Hong Kong,” Hawkes said.
“He could always play up a little bit on Hong Kong but the horse has been good in Sydney and he’s been perfect in Melbourne.
“I’ve purposely had him in the outside yards in Melbourne because in Hong Kong the poor buggers are caged up and they don’t see much sunlight.
“And even on a good day in Hong Kong it’s cloudy.
“So we’re still working this horse out but his run was terrific.”
Hawke’s only concern is with the state of the track at Moonee Valley come Saturday, with the rating predicted to be a slow 6.
“He’s certainly on song but what I don’t know about is his wet track form,” Hawkes admitted.
The lightly raced Danzero gelding has won eight of his 15 race starts and has won the equivalent of close to $AU 1.7 million in prize money.