Laser Hawk is set to contest the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday and trainer Joseph Pride believes that the talented gelding has recovered from the injury problems that have kept him away from the races for over 16 months.
Laser Hawk has not been seen at the races since he beat home just a single runner in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens in April last year due to a tendon injury, but he has performed well in three barrier trial appearances at Warwick Farm ahead of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Pride told Racing Ahead that he has been happy with the progress that Laser Hawk has made in the lead-up to the Missile Stakes and he is hopeful that the Artie Schiller gelding can return to his best form and be competitive at Group 1 level this preparation.
“He is really well and I am very pleased with him,” Pride said.
“He has had the three trials and the third trial was more just to buy a little time for when there would be a race for him.
“He will follow a weight-for-age path.
“He is pretty well performed and he has a pretty high benchmark.
“If he is able to stand up to a solid preparation, he is a genuine Group 1 horse no doubting.
“At this point he seems a trouble free horse.
“Tommy Berry rode him the other day and he is familiar with him and his path life and he said that the horse felt fantastic.”
Laser Hawk made his racing debut as a three-year-old under the care of Gai Waterhouse and recorded wins in Newcastle and Gosford before he was sent to the spelling paddock to begin preparations for a 2012 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
The gelding returned to the races with a win in the Quakers Inn Handicap (1500m) and he was thrown in the deep end at Group 1 level in the Royal Randwick Guineas; finishing an unlucky third behind Mosheen and Said Com after missing the start.
Laser Hawk was well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and was able to hold off a fast-finishing Ocean Park and Silent Achiever to score a maiden Group 1 victory before finishing third behind Ethiopia and Polish Knight in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) a fortnight later.
Rebel Dane ($3.80) and Sweet Idea ($3.80) are currently battling for favouritism in 2014 Missile Stakes betting markets, while Laser Hawk is the outsider of the field at $34.