Trainer Joe Pride has confirmed that Laser Hawk will head to Queensland for a 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign if he performs well in the 2015 All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Laser Hawk returned to racing with a tough victory over Scorpio Queen and Mighty Lucky in the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle on March 18 and he was set to return to Group 1 level in the Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 6, but Pride opted against running the veteran gelding in the $3 million event due to a minor setback.
The Artie Schiller showed that he was ready for a return to racing when he finished fourth behind Zaratone and All Aged Stakes rivals Shooting To Win and Scissor Kick in a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on April 10, but Pride told Racing Ahead that the race is an afterthought for the six-year-old and he will be using the run to gauge whether to send the Group 1 winner to Queensland for the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast next Saturday and the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 9.
“It is an afterthought for him,” Pride said.
“He was meant to run in the Doncaster, but he had a slight setback.
“He has been good and he trailed really well here on Friday.
“He possibly has a Brisbane trip coming up.
“He could back-up in the Hollindale Cup and then the Doomben Cup, but we just want to see how he goes on Saturday first.”
Laser Hawk’s Newcastle Newmarket Handicap victory was his first race win under the care of Pride and his first triumph since he took out the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) while under the care of Gai Waterhouse.
Pride said that he was not overly surprised by the impressive victory of Laser Hawk, but he admitted that he was thrilled to see the injury-plagued gelding make such a positive start to his autumn campaign.
“I’m not sure if he exceeded expectations because we all know what a classy horse he is and that was a pretty moderate field, but it was a nice surprise to see him find that form so early in the preparation,” Pride said.
Laser Hawk is currently available at 2015 All Aged Stakes odds of $51 with Ladbrokes, while Chautauqua ($3) is a clear favourite in early betting from Terravista ($6), Lucky Hussler ($6.50), Shooting To Win ($7.50), Wandjina ($8) and Dissident ($10).