Co-trainer Michael Hawkes has confirmed that Messene will head to Melbourne to run in the 2014 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Messene resumed with an impressive second place finish in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9 and was set to contest the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at the same venue last Saturday, but was scratched from the race due to the heavy Royal Randwick track.
Hawkes told TVN this morning that he was happy with the decision to scratch Messene from the Warwick Stakes and he revealed that the six-year-old would make the trip to Melbourne for just his second start at Group 1 level in the Memsie Stakes.
“He will head down tonight,” Hawkes said.
“His work was very good this morning.
“It was a bit of a shame that the wet weather did come because he has improved a lot this horse and he still probably has a little bit to go.
“He is taking on some fair company in a Group 1 Memsie, but in saying that, we feel that it is the right decision for the horse and that is what we are about.
“He could have ran Saturday, it probably would have gutted him and he doesn’t like wet tracks so what’s the point.”
Messene has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but Team Hawkes are yet to decide which race they will target with the six-year-old.
Hawkes said that the stable are taking it one start at a time with Messene and are keeping their options open with the Lonhro gelding, who he believes is capable of winning at Group 1 level during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He will go to Melbourne and where he goes after that will depend on how he runs; whether he heads back to Sydney for maybe an Epsom, but that is yet to be determined,” Hawkes said.
“We are taking it one race at a time and this time of the year, particularly with how the weather has been, we have the advantage of Melbourne and Sydney stables to do that.
“We are half sitting on the fence, but in saying that we are going forward with him and he is a very talented horse.”
Team Hawkes are chasing their first win in the Memsie Stakes; with their previous best result the second place finish of Spanish Mix in 1994.