Co-trainer Michael Hawkes says that La Amistad to ready to be tested in tougher company as she chases much sought after black type in the Listed $100,000 W J McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
La Amistad is a three quarter sister to triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva and even though Hawkes knows she is ready for Saturday’s assignment, he said that there is still a long way to go before the four year old mare reaches her full potential.
“It’s 2400m, a stakes race, she’s a valuable mare on the rise but she is not there yet,” Hawkes told the Sportsman.
“She is another twelve months away and is definitely a work in progress.”
“We have poked her along slowly and tried to keep her to the lower grades which is why she went to Echuca and back through town.”
“She deserves a crack at a race like this because it is perfect timing.”
The Redoute’s Choice mare scored two starts back over 2100m in a BenchMark 70 at Echuca on April 22 before heading to Sydney where she won by two and three quarter lengths over 2400m in a BenchMark 70 at Warwick Farm on May 7 for James McDonald who will be aboard the mare again on Saturday.
La Amistad was passed in as a yearling at $725,000 and to gain black type with neither a win or placing at Listed or Group level would greatly enhance her value as a broodmare.
The Hawkes Team were in the same situation last Spring chasing black type when they tested the mare at Group 3 level after putting together impressive wins over 2200m at Ballarat and Bendigo.
La Amistad lined up in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival but she was a well beaten eighth to the Bart and James Cummings trained warhorse Precedence.
“At that stage she wasn’t up to it, she was immature mentally but we wanted to stretch her over a bit of ground,” Hawkes said.
“It was the deep end and she ran accordingly for her preparation.”
La Amistad has been installed the $3 favourite for the McKell Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the Chris Waller trained Secessio at $6 and Destiny’s Kiss and Order Of The Sun both at $6.50.
Secessio is coming off a third to Zephyron in the Listed $100,000 Fujitsu Air Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on May 10 while Order Of The Sun is back from Adelaide where the three year old finished sixth to Kushadasi in the Group 1 $500,000 Sportingbet South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 3.
While the Joe Pride trained Destiny’s Kiss is coming back to town after running fifth to Cameo in the Listed $200,000 Emirates Park Scone Cup (1600m) at Scone on May 16.