While the 2YO Classic and 3YO Guineas threatens to steal the limelight at this Saturday’s Magic Millions Race Day at the Gold Coast, trainer John Hawkes is focusing on the Classic 6 Plate.
Hawkes will saddle up impressive sprinter Stratford in the $82,000 race, which will run over 1,200 metres.
Stratford was also nominated for the Listed Canterbury Classic at Canterbury tomorrow night, however, Hawks elected to send the four-year-old gelding north for the Magic Millions Carnival.
“He’s travelled up good and he’s fine,” he said.
“It was a bit of much of a muchness (between races).
“The one on Friday night at Canterbury was a bit harder race.”
Stratford will be first up in Saturday’s Magic Millions Class 6 Plate, which is something the trainer believes will suit the Stratum gelding.
“He genuinely races really well fresh,” Hawkes said.
“He should be really really competitive.
“He’s well off in the weights and it’s a good race to start off in.
“We’re really pleased with him.”
Stratford has been extremely lightly races over his career and has had just seven race starts.
“He’s been a very slow maturing horse,” his trainer said.
“He’s continued to get better as he got older.
Stratford will be ridden in the race by jockey Jason Taylor, who has ridden a lot of winners for the Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes stables.
“He’s rode a lot of winners for us over a period of time,” Hawkes said.
“He’s quite a capable young jockey.”
Stratford has won three of his seven race starts and has accrued more than $160,000 in prize money.
The gelding was purchased at the 2009 Magic Millions Yearling Sale for $130,000.