Messene will be having his first start on a rain affected track in the 2014 Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick tomorrow, but co-trainer Michael Hawkes is hopeful that the progressive gelding will not have a problem handling the wet surface.
Messene has scored seven wins from seven starts in the past 12 months and has been a clear favourite in 2014 Doncaster Mile betting markets since he romped home to win the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22.
Hawkes told Racing Ahead this morning that he is thrilled with the condition of Messene heading into the Doncaster Mile this weekend, but admits that he is unsure how the son of Lonhro will handle the rain affected surface.
“That is the only query,” Hawkes said.
“Usually horses with a good galloping action, sometimes they don’t handle it, but I worked him on Tuesday on the grass here and it was wet and he handled it pretty good.
“He wanted to stick his head out like he does every piece of work and he wants to have that will to win, so I can’t see why he wouldn’t to be honest.
“Until you try them in these conditions you just don’t really know, but we are going to find out one way or another.
“He is ready, he looks good and we are really happy.”
Messene will jump from barrier 18 in the 2014 Doncaster Mile tomorrow and he eased in betting after drawing the wide gate, but Hawkes believes that the outside draw may be an advantage in wet conditions tomorrow.
Leading form expert Dominic Beirne is confident that Messene will be able to cross the field with El Roca tomorrow and Hawkes is hoping that James McDonald will be able to settle the five-year-old in a good position before giving him a chance to show his impressive turn-of-foot.
“He has done super and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Hawkes said.
“He looks enormous and his work on Tuesday was very good.
“Going forward it is his toughest assignment to date and when the marble came out we were a little bit gutted, but in saying that the way the track might play it could be a decent barrier for us.
“He is a big striding horse and he likes plenty of room and hopefully there will be plenty of speed on the inside and he can just have a sit somewhere.
“He will be doing his best bit at the end.”
The Hawkes Team is chasing their second win in the Doncaster Mile after winning the 2000 edition of the race with Over.