Lightly raced colt Hardham can earn himself a start in the Golden Rose Stakes if he can win the Group 3 $150,000 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Trained Mick Price thinks that Hardham will be better suited over the 1400m of the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes at Rosehill on September 10, but the top Caulfield trainer has kept the Redoute’s Choice colt on the fresh side for his assignment on the weekend.
“That’s a nice race for him,” Price told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“He’s not a fast 1200m horse, that’s not what we think of him.”
“We’re looking forward to getting him to 1400m and a mile.”
“If he wins, we will have a good look at the Golden Rose.”
“If he doesn’t, we’ll keep him here and hopefully end up in the Caulfield Guineas.”
Hardham has only been to the races on two occasions and was sent for a break after winning on debut in a 1200m Pakenham two year old Maiden on March 3 under the Peter Moody banner.
At his first start for the Price stable Hardham made up plenty of ground over the concluding stages with an eye catching third behind Russian Revolution and Highland Beat in the Group 3 $150,000 KS Environmental Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 13.
Hardham has drawn barrier eight in the fourteen horse McNeil Stakes with Damien Oliver sticking with the Redoute’s Choice colt after partnering him in the Vain Stakes.
Oliver was also aboard Hardham when he worked with stablemate and McNeil Stakes rival China Dream on Tuesday morning and Price said that the jockeys were happy with their work.
“They were really happy with the work. Couldn’t be happier going into Saturday,” Price said.”
Craig Newitt rides China Dream who is yet to win from five starts and the Snitzel colt has drawn next to Hardham in barrier seven.
Hardham has had early support at Ladbrokes.com.au and has firmed in from $6 to be the $5 favourite for the McNeil Stakes ahead of the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Defcon and Lindsay Park’s Highland Beat who share the second line of betting at $5.50.
In a tight betting race, Highland Beat’s stalemates Seaburge at $6 and Blue Tycoon at $7 are also under the $10 mark.
Market order for H.D.F. McNeil Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Hardham, $5.50 Defcon, Highland Beat, $6 Seaburge, $7 Blue Tycoon, $11 Awake In Grinzing, $14 Wazzenme, $16 Revolving Door, $31 Pyx Chamber, I’m Too Hot, $34 Simply Invincible, $41 China Dream, $51 So Si Bon, Kinetic Design.