Trainer John Hawkes has confirmed that multiple Group 1 winning jockey Chris Munce will have the ride on All Too Hard if he decides to run the three year old in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Hawkes will wait until Tuesday morning to make a final call on a start in the weight for age championship but is happy with the way All Too Hard has pulled up after downing the previously unbeaten Pierro in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 13.
“He seems to have come through the race well,” said John Hawkes who trains in partnership with his sons Wayne and Michael.
Munce was aboard All Too Hard when he finished fourth to Shoot Out in the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 22 when regular rider Dawyne Dunn was unable to make the colts weight of 50.5kg and Munce has been waiting for the Cox Plate call up where the colt will only carry 49.5kg.
“My hats in the ring the same as probably a dozen other riders, but I hope I can get a chance on him because I like the horse and I think he’ll run very well,” Munce said.
“I thought he could win the Caulfield Guineas, his run in Sydney was fantastic. He’s on the improve, hasn’t plateaued out yet and I think the Cox Plate is a realistic goal for him.”
All Too Hard had developed a small barrier problem with slow getaways over his recent starts and Hawkes took the gamble and tested out the barrier blanket on the three year old in the Guineas.
“They use the barrier blanket on Black Caviar and we were tinkering with a few things so I thought it was worth a try,” Hawkes said.
“I’m not certain it works or not but he jumped away cleanly in the Guineas and that made a big difference.
“It has been frustrating watching him get beaten this spring because I know how good this colt is. He’s up there with the best horses we’ve had.
“But All Too Hard brought his A-game to the Caulfield Guineas and that was the most pleasing part of his win.”
Munce knows what it takes to win a Cox Plate having won the race in 2004 on the Graeme Rogerson trained three year old Savabeel and is only a handful of jockeys to have won the big four feature races in Australia with wins in the 1998 Melbourne Cup on Jezabeel, the Golden Slipper twice in 1998 and 2004 and the Caulfield Cup two years ago on Descarado.
All Too Hard is currently a $11 chance in the Cox Plate with the Gai Waterhouse trained Pierro clinging onto favouritism at $3.50 ahead of Turnbull Stakes winner Green Moon at $5 and Kiwi galloper Ocean Park at $5.50.
Waterhouse will have a strong contingent in the Cox Plate and her other two chances glamour mare More Joyous and three year old Proisir share the $10 mark.