Team Hawkes still believe that Messene is the horse to beat in Saturday’s Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick even though he has been dealt a horror barrier drew.
Messene was handed barrier eighteen in the original draw but will jump from sixteen if the two emergencies don’t gain a start but co trainer Michael Hawkes is very positive that five year old can keep his winning momentum going.
“He’s well, we’ve got him as good as we can. He trialled last Friday and we’ve kept him ticking over. He’s fit, and he’s still the horse to beat,’’ Michael Hawkes told The Daily Telegraph.
“He’ll run a strong mile, and they’re the cards we’ve been dealt.”
Messene has been in the winner’s circle at his last seven outings and started working his way up through the grades after winning a BenchMark 75 Handicap over 1550m at Canterbury in March, 2013.
The five year old son of Lonhro kicked off his Autumn Carnival campaign with a win in the Listed $120,000 John McGrath Auto Group Canberra National Sprint (1400m) at Canberra on March 9.
Hawkes then stepped Messene up in grade again and tested him at Group 2 level and he rewarded them with a two and three quarter lengths win over the Chris Waller trained Weary in the $175,000 Hyland Race Colours Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 22.
The form line has proved strong with Weary coming out and gaining a start in the Doncaster Mile with a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Messene’s Doncaster Mile preparation has been topped off with an easy barrier trial at Randwick over 835m last Friday and Hawkes couldn’t be happier with him heading into Saturday’s tough ‘Mile’ on the first day of ‘The Championships‘.
Wayne Hawkes, a member of the Hawkes training team, told Racing Ahead that Messene pleased the team with his trial and will head to Randwick in great order.
“I was at the Randwick trials on Friday with Messene and he was against Lankan Rupee and Snitzerland and he just sat behind them and did what he had to do,” Wayne Hawkes said.
“It was more about just putting him on the float and giving him a little bit of a blowout.
“He has had three weeks between runs and he has only had two runs in two stakes races and won them both very impressively.”
After drawing a wide gate, Messene has eased slightly in betting but with his good form and being weighted on the minimum with 51.5kgs, the five year old remains the $4.50 favourite for the Doncaster Mile with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Weary, the first of Waller’s six runners in the market order, is the second pick at $6.50 and has drawn closer to the middle of the field at thirteen with Hawkspur the next in the betting at $10.
Last year’s Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls shares the next line of betting with the Guy Walter trained Toydini at $12 while Royal Descent, also from the Waller stable, is marked as a $14 chance.