Caulfield track man Rob Nicholson has selected Hardham as the pick of trainer Mick Price’s two entries for the Group 3 $150,000 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hardham worked with McNeil Stakes entrant and stablemate China Dream over 800m on the course proper at Caulfield on a foggy Tuesday morning and while both three year olds worked impressively. Nicholson said he would stick with the Redoute’s Choice colt.
“It was very very foggy and it was very difficult to see a lot of the horses, thus there were no times taken,” Nicholson reported to RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“China Dream and Hardham worked together this morning over 800m on the course proper.”
“They looked in terrific order this morning and I would expect both of them to be very prominent in running with Hardham the pick of the two going into the McNeil Stakes on the weekend.
“Hardham was terrific last start and goes up in distance and I think he will be very hard to beat. “
The lightly race Hardham scored on debut in a 1200m Pakenham maiden back in March and resumed from a break with an eye catching third behind to Russian Revolution and Highland Beat in the Group 3 $150,000 KS Environmental Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 13.
Damien Oliver rode Hardham in the Vain Stakes and was back on board in this morning gallop while Craig Newitt partnered China Dream and both jockeys were happy with the hit out.
“Craig Newitt rode China Dream and Damien Oliver was on board Hardham. They were really happy with the work. Couldn’t be happier going into Saturday, said Mick Price.”
China Dream is yet to find the winner’s stall with four placings from five starts, but did earn a start in the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 27, finishing twelfth to his stablemate Extreme Choice.
The Snitzel colt resumed from a break for a second in a 1100m Geelong Maiden on July 22 followed by a third in a 1200m Cranbourne Maiden on August 11.
In early McNeil Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au Hardham shares the third line with the Lindsay Park trained Blue Tycoon and Highland Beat at $7.
The Peter and Paul Snowden trained Defcon is at the top of the market order at $5 just ahead of Lindsay Park’s third entry Seaburge at $6 while China Dream is one of the outsiders of the field at $51.