Trainer Paul Messara has revealed that he is confident Havana will run well when he contests the 2014 Mick Dittman Plate at Doomben on Saturday.
Havana raced well without winning as a two-year-old and performed fairly during the spring before starting his autumn preparation with a dominant win in the Get Racy Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on March 12.
The Starcraft gelding returned to Group level for the Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19 and finished an unlucky sixth behind Sidestep after being hampered at the start and suffering interference during the run.
Havana was scratched from the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) last Saturday due to the wet condition of the track, but Messara believes that the three-year-old is ready to run well when he jumps from barrier two in the Mick Dittman Plate this weekend.
“This horse has been very unlucky of late; he has run into wet tracks and drawn bad barriers when he needed to draw well,” Messara said.
“He is a very talented horse and I expect him to run really well on Saturday.
“He actually got chopped out of the start, it wasn’t our intention to go back and we wanted to actually drive him forward and have him on the pace.
“He won very well the start before at Canterbury and he went forward and dominated the race and we had intentions of doing that again at his last start.
“He had to be ridden quietly and he is not a horse that is great in amongst horses and taking gaps underneath horses isn’t really his go.
“Hopefully on Saturday now with a good gate we can stay one off the fence and come into clear running room in the straight.”
Havana has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but Messara revealed that the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) was the major target for the talented three-year-old.
Messara said that Havana would run in the Listed Chief De Beers Quality (1110m) at Doomben on May 25 before backing up in the Queensland Guineas at Eagle Farm the following week and said the gelding remains an outside chance of running in the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 7.
“He will be heading towards the Guineas up in Queensland,” Messara said.
“We unfortunately had to scratch him last week at the Gold Coast because of the track, but in a fortnights time there is a Listed race and he back-up into the Guineas over 1400,” Messara said.
“We will see what happens after that and whether we go to the Stradbroke.
“The only problem is that we are on the wrong leg and we would have to be backing-up three weeks in a row to run in the Stradbroke.”
Havana is currently rated at 2014 Stradbroke Handicap odds of $61, but is set to start amongst the favourites in the Mick Dittman Plate this weekend.