Trainer Wayne Hawkes admits that he is not happy with the outside barrier for Maroon Bay but still rates the filly a winning chance in the Claire Andrews Handicap (1000m) at Caulfield tomorrow.
Maroon Bay made her racing debut with a fourth place finish behind subsequent Thousand Guineas placegetter Gregers in the Aquanas Foods Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 3 and failed to fire when returning to the races at Kembla Grange on December 1 before recording her maiden race win in the Alternate Railway Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on December 20.
Hawkes told Racing Ahead that he was confident before the barrier draw that Maroon Bay could make it two wins in a row but believes that barrier 10 gives the daughter of Exceed And Excel a far trickier assignment.
“She really needed to draw one with her gate speed,” Hawkes said.
“Drawing that outside barrier, she will need to fly at the start and get across really easy.
“It brings you back a cog, if she drew barrier one I thought that she would win again, but she has just drawn a bit awkward in that gate.”
Punters have been unable to split Maroon Bay and Robbie Griffiths-trained Romancingthestone in Claire Andrews Handicap betting markets, with both fillies available at $4.60, and Hawkes believes that the Holy Roman Emperor filly, who finished a narrow second behind Maroon Bay in the Alternate Railway Handicap, will be tough to beat.
“Boss gave her a gun ride; he got across to the lead, got a couple of easy sectionals and just skipped away coming around the corner,” Hawkes said of Maroon Bay’s win.
“She was too good for them but Griffos horse was the one hitting the line pretty smart and we are up against it again tomorrow so it will be hard to beat.
“She is no superstar but she is a runner and she is in the right race.”
Team Hawkes only have two runners at Caulfield tomorrow but both are taking winning form into their races; with last-start winner Laohu set to contest the Tim Sando Handicap (1200m).
Laohu returned to the races with a narrow victory over the talented Oltre Finito at Bendigo on November 27 and is rated a $6 chance to make it two wins in a row this weekend.