Messene Could Be Scratched From Bill Ritchie Handicap

By: Thomas Hackett
September 18th, 2015

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes has revealed that Messene could be scratched from the 2015 Bill Ritchie Handicap if the Royal Randwick track continues to be affected by rain ahead of the Group 3 event this weekend.

Messene may not take his place in the 2015 Bill Ritchie Handicap field. Photo by: Steve Hart

Messene may not take his place in the 2015 Bill Ritchie Handicap field. Photo by: Steve Hart

Messene was scratched from the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 5 due to concerns about a wet track before he dropped back to 1300 metres for an eighth place finish in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12.

Hawkes said that he is happy with the condition of Messene ahead of the Bill Ritchie Handicap, but he admits that he is concerned by the prospect of a wet track.

“It was an ok run last start,” Hawkes told Racing Ahead.

“To be honest, the rider probably went a bit keen on him and just wanted to rush him to get there when he should have come back a cog to let him travel.

“We are going to wait and see how the track pans out, but the horse has done well since his last start and he is hitting form at the right time.

“We just have to see how the track ends up.”

Another horse that Team Hawkes is considering not running at Royal Randwick tomorrow is Sooboog, who has been included in the entries for the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m).

Hawkes said that Sooboog has trained on strongly following his narrow win at Canterbury on September 2 and he believes that the Snitzel colt would be hard to beat in the 2015 Heritage Handicap, but he revealed that he is likely to scratch the three-year-old if the Royal Randwick track ends up being rated in the soft range.

“He can on a decent track, but unfortunately he doesn’t like wet tracks,” Hawkes said when asked if Sooboog can win the Heritage Handicap.

“We are going to have to wait and see and play it by ear.

“If the rain comes then he may not run.

“He is super, he has trained on very good since that win.

“What he really needed was the confidence.

“The track might be his only downside tomorrow because I can’t see anything else being the downside. “

Sooboog is currently available at 2015 Heritage Handicap odds of $17 and he is on the seventh line of betting behind Mogador ($2.40), Haptic ($4.60), Takedown ($7.50), Redzel ($7.50), Counterattack ($9) and Realise Potential ($13).

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