The 2014 Melbourne Cup will be the spring target for La Amistad, but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes admits that the progressive stayer will need to do everything right during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival to qualify for the Group 1 event at Flemington on November 4.
La Amistad, a half-sister to three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, has been bought along patiently by Team Hawkes, but stamped herself as a stayer to watch with a string of impressive performances during her autumn campaign that was highlighted by a dominant four lengths win in the Listed W.J. McKell Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on May 24.
The McKell Cup victory saw La Amistad pass the first qualification clause for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Hawkes said that the Redoute’s Choice mare will need to win plenty of races to qualify for ‘the race that stops a nation’, but admits that there is currently a lack of top-quality handicap stayers in Australia.
“She is back in the stables in Sydney, she had a few weeks off up there,” Hawkes told Racing Ahead this morning.
“She is going to be a bit of a hype horse and we are struggling with staying horses.
“What is a good handicap staying horse?
“Fawkner is probably as good as any horse running around, but name the next two or three after that.
“With a mare like La Amistad, you sort of have to go the Niwot and Maluckyday way of heading towards a Melbourne Cup, if you are going to make it.
“You have to go through every hoop, you have to do everything spot on and you can’t afford to miss a gallop.
“You might be luckily enough to sneak around the back way through a Metrop or something like that.
“Nothing has been planned.
“She has passed one qualifying clause for the Melbourne Cup, but she is going to be a long way down the weights and she just needs to step-up to the plate and start winning a lot of races to end up getting in the race.”
La Amistad may need to win the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 1 to qualify for the 2014 Melbourne Cup and Team Hawkes have had a good record in the race in recent years; with Maluckyday winning in 2010 before he went on to finish second in the Melbourne Cup, while Niwot took out the race in 2011.
La Amistad is currently on the second line of the 2014 Melbourne Cup betting market at Ladbrokes Australia at a quote of $21.