Messene will go into the 2014 Doncaster Mile as one of the leading chances after recording his seventh straight victory in the 2014 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Ecuador and Messene were both well-backed in the lead-up to the race and they took up the running in the early stages of the race; with Messene travelling comfortably behind Ecuador who set a quick tempo.
Messene was travelling extremely comfortably with 400 metres left to run and stormed home in the final stages of the race to score an impressive win from a fast-finishing Weary and Malavio.
The Hawkes team has been extremely patient with Messene, but co-trainer Michael Hawkes was clearly delighted with the performance and believes that the Lonhro gelding will go into the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 as a genuine winning chance.
“It was just a super effort,” Hawkes said after the race.
“It is really frightening to know what this horse really can do.
“He jumped, travelled, James got him in a beautiful rhythm and at the top of the straight he was always going to win and it was just a matter of how far.
“He has got it now (entry in the Doncaster Mile) and he has only 50 kilos, so he is going into the race with a live chance.
“He has done everything right, he will appreciate a mile and the big track at Randwick as well.”
James McDonald will be unable to ride Messene in the Doncaster Mile, as he can’t get his riding weight down to 50 kilograms, but believes that the five-year-old is an excellent chance in the Group 1 event during The Championships.
The rising hoop admitted that he did not have to do much to steer Messene to victory and paid credit to the impressive turn-of-foot that the consistent gelding possesses.
“He is a very good horse and he is just bombproof in the race,” McDonald said.
“He has a great turn-of-foot and he just cruises up to him; he is an awesome ride.
“Wayne would say that I probably shouldn’t be paid for it, but I’ve still got to put up with him after I ride them.”
McDonald will have the opportunity to record another feature race win at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon when he partners It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), while Team Hawkes has Real Surreal in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m).