Laser Hawk may have beaten home just a single runner in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, but trainer Joseph Pride was happy with the first-up performance of the Artie Schiller gelding.
Laser Hawk was making his first appearance at the races for the first time in almost a year and a half after being sidelined by a tendon injury and he worked home fairly in the final stages of the race to finish within three and a half lengths of Sweet Idea over the unsuitable distance of 1200 metres.
“We were really pleased,” Pride told Racing Ahead.
“He had over 400 days between runs and never run in a race below 1400 metres, so he was up against it yesterday and it wasn’t a race that was going to suit him, but I thought his beaten margin and the way he stretched out in the run to the line was very encouraging.”
Laser Hawk was included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) that were released last week, but Pride admits he is unsure how far the six-year-old will get during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Pride said that he has no doubt that Laser Hawk still has the quality to compete at Group 1 level, but may set his sights a bit lower with the 2012 Rosehill Guineas winner during his first preparation back from injury and set him for a race like the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Super Saturday.
“If he stands up he is a Group 1 horse,” Pride said.
“I don’t think anything is beyond him, but I am just going to take him along slowly.
“It may be a case this preparation of him not being able to get back to his peak, coming off such a long spell, but we will measure that along the way.
“A Craven Plate or something could be it this preparation, but he might go better that that.
“In the autumn I think it will be when we see him back to his best.”
Laser Hawk has been restricted to just ten race starts, but was one of the star performers during the 2012 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival; finishing third in the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and taking out the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).