Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident that talented colt Nostradamus will be hitting the line strongly when he returns to racing in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield this afternoon.
Nostradamus has not been seen at the races since he finished 13th behind Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, but has recorded two win from as many first-up starts since he made his racing debut with a comfortable victory at Flemington in January last year.
Hawkes admits that he was disappointed with the wide barrier that Nostradamus was allocated when the 2015 Oakleigh Plate field was released earlier in the week, but he believes that the Medaglia D’Oro colt is forward enough to record his maiden win at the highest level of racing.
“He has drawn a touch awkward and we all know what I think about barriers,” Hawkes said.
“If there is one race where it might not be such a bad thing to draw wide it might be this race because I reckon the Lightning and Newmarket might be easier races than what it is to win an Oakleigh.
“It is never easy this race, it is 1100 around Caulfield and a big field.
“I would hope that they go lickety split and he will be sitting off them and hitting the line.
“He looks great, he has done well and it is really about him wanting to put in.
“If he puts in and puts his best foot forward then he is going to be in it for a long, long way.
“He is good enough to win and he is forward enough to win.”
Nostradamus has shown a degree of tactical versatility during his racing career to date, but Hawkes believes that jockey Patrick Moloney will have no choice but to settle the three-year-old off the pace in the early stages of the Oakleigh Plate.
“They are going to go hard and we have drawn a bad barrier,” Hawkes said.
“I don’t know where the speed maps are going to have him, but you are not going to win by going forward.
“I’m not saying that we are going to drag back, but we are just going to be a little conservative and try to slot in somewhere.
“We all want to be running about sixth and two pairs back, but 13 jockeys want to do that.”
Nostradamus is currently available at 2015 Oakleigh Plate odds of $11 with Ladbrokes, while Earthquake ($7) remains a narrow favourite from Atmospherical ($7.50) and A Time For Julia ($8.50).