Co-trainer Michael Hawkes believes that Messene showed that he can be competitive at weight-for-age level with his strong performance in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday and he is confident that the Lonhro gelding is in for bigger and better things during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hawkes admitted in the lead-up to Messene’s weight-for-age debut in the Missile Stakes that the six-year-old would not be primed for the Missile Stakes, but the tough gelding produced a typically competitive effort and was only narrowly denied his second win at Group level by brave mare Sweet Idea.
The Sydney-based trainer admitted that Messene had been beaten by a better horse on the day and he believes that the Ajax Stakes winner will have taken plenty of benefit out of the run as he works through his spring campaign.
“It was a sensational run,” Hawkes said.
“He was a little bit tardy away, he was a bit fractious in the gates James said and he overraced a touch, but his run was just outstanding.
“He wasn’t fully wound up, I said that previously, going forward he is going to be a really lovely horse in the spring.
“He is a winner, he is a race horse and he is getting towards the top level.
“Even though he ran second he definitely ticked that weight-for-age box that we needed to find out about him and it was a massive effort.
“He was beaten by a better one on the day, but our bloke has got bigger and better things in front of him hopefully.
“He is a real racehorse and if you had half a dozen like him in your stable you would be pretty happy.”
Messene is expected to have his next race start in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 23 and he will follow a path to the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at the same venue on October 4.
The talented gelding will then be sent to Melbourne for the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8, but he remains a chance of contest the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, if he has shown that he is capable of taking on the best horses in Australia at weight-for-age level.