Trainer Wayne Hawkes believes that Jolie Bay is good enough to win a Group 1 race during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival ahead of her return from injury in Theshark.com.au Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Jolie Bay has not been seen at the races since finishing second behind Nechita in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day last year after a serious injury ruled her out of the 2013 Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Fastnet Rock mare pulled up lame after slipping during trackwork earlier this year and vets were unable to put their finger on exactly what the problem was.
Team Hawkes made the decision to protect the long term future of the classy four-year-old by giving her a long stint in the paddock and bringing her back from the injury slowly.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes told Racing Ahead this morning that he is confident Roman Consul Stakes winner has recovered from the problem but won’t know for sure until she makes her return to the races at Caulfield this weekend.
“She half did the splits and she pulled up lame so we said bugger it, she is a really good horse and we have to give her a long time off,” Hawkes said on RSN.
“It has been a long slow process and she is really good.
“We are hoping that she gets back to her best but we won’t know until we race her.”
Hawkes concedes it is unlikely that Jolie Bay will record a first-up victory against a strong field in the race formerly known as the Heath 1100 but believes the classy mare is good enough to be a contender at Group 1 level if she returns to her best form.
“It would be a big ask to say that she is going to win but if she runs big on Saturday we will be treating it like a victory because we know we have her back on song,” Hawkes said.
“She is a serious Group 1 horse, she hasn’t won a Group one but she is a fair dinkum Group 1 horse and hopefully we can get her back in order.”
Hawkes will decide on a major spring target for Jolie Bay after she runs on Saturday.