Hawkes Racing may have lost Mossfun from the early three-year-old features this spring but the stable is still dually represented in Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Smithfield RSL Club San Domenico Stakes (1100m).
The Rosehill Gardens showdown is an early kick-off point for promising youngsters heading towards the better races of the carnival including the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) back at the track on September 13.
The 2014 Golden Rose is certainly being considered for both the Hawkes-trained San Domenico Stakes hopes looking to fly the flag for the stable over the next few weeks with their Golden Slipper winning stablemate Mossfun recovering from a virus.
Medaglia D’Oro colt Nostradamus was Group 1 performed during the autumn after then Nursery Plate winner backed up form a Blue Diamond Prelude fourth to finish a brave seventh to Earthquake in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 22.
They tuned up for their return in the San Domenico on Monday at the Hawkesbury trials with a winning hit-out defeating Golden Slipper third placed filly Bring Me The Maid over 760m in a brave run.
“He only does what he has to do, he’s a pretty casual horse, and he knows when it’s race day,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes told The Daily Telegraph speaking of Nostradamus.
They are joined on Saturday meanwhile by the fellow Hawkes-trained Bugatty drawn in barrier five one outside their better fancied stablemate.
Well tried with five starts for one win and two other minor placings to their name, Dreamscape colt Bugatty has also been tested at elite level when they finished eighth behind Snitzerland in mid-February at Flemington in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
Their last start was a failed effort at Sandown beaten over 13 lengths by Temps Voleur on a Heavy (8) track but firmer ground first-up on Saturday should see them improve.
Two other stables are also dually represented in this year’s San Domenico Stakes field with Gerald Ryan and Gai Waterhouse both launching dual pronged assaults on the set weights plus penalties showdown.
Ryan plays a particularly strong hand with two livewire chances drawn ideally and backing up from strong autumn campaigns.
His first is the rails-drawn Washington Heights to be ridden by Brent Avdulla who was aboard the Commands colt for their second on debut behind Hallowed Crown in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) run on a Heavy (9) at Randwick back on April 12.
Their stablemate Ygritte meanwhile has a nice barrier three draw for their first-up run on the weekend with Kerrin McEvoy to ride the Snitzel filly.
She won her race debut at Kembla Grange in early February and went on to finish second best in her subsequent three Group 3 runs.
The perennial placegetter has form around some of the best form those runs including behind subsequent Golden Slipper winner Mossfun at Rosehill in the Widden Stakes and so will be well liked for the San Domenico against the boys.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winning trainer Waterhouse meanwhile has accepted for both Wandjina out wide in barrier nine and Hampton Court who Tye Angland will ride from barrier six.
Snitzel colt Wandjina was last seen running fourth to Ghibellines in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) over the track and distance on March 22.
Hampton Court meanwhile comes into the race on the back of two winter trials, as does Wandjina, and shoot for their first win since a 1400m effort at Newcastle on March 19.
The other more interesting edition in the San Domenico Stakes line-up this weekend is then Chris Waller’s recent acquisition Law who was previously prepared by Waterhouse.
Law, like most of the rivals they face on Saturday, has Golden Rose ambitions and will be ridden quiet by jockey Glyn Schofield as per Waller’s instructions as the four time premiership winning trainer looks to get them to settle and extend out to 1400m for the Group 1 next month.
Ygritte is the shortest priced of the San Domenico Stakes acceptors in the futures Golden Rose odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $34 followed by the David Payne-trained Bold Circle at $41.
Bernardini colt Bold Circle is out to improve on their first-up eighth behind Scissor Kick in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday but must handle the short seven-day turnaround.