Lightly raced Kiwi mare Sardaaj is an unlikely runner in the Listed $120,000 Winslow Group Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday after drawing the outside barrier in the capacity field.
Jockey Dwayne Dunn had been engaged to ride Sardaaj who drew barrier seventeen in the final field of sixteen plus one emergency and co-trainer John Hawkes is happy to wait for another day for the Iffraaj mare to make her debut for the stable.
The four year old mare won at her first two race starts in New Zealand before running second at Group 2 level in the NZ$100,000 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on December 26 followed by a second in the Group 1 NZ$240,000 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in New Zealand on January 17.
Hawkes, who trains in partnership with is sons Wayne and Michael, can’t see any sense in giving Sardaaj a hard run first up from a wide gate and will recommend to the owners to withdraw her from the Regal Roller Stakes.
“Seventeen out of seventeen, it just makes it very difficult. She’s a lovely mare and I’m not saying she couldn’t win from out there, but if you have a real hard gut-buster first run … it’s a long way down the track,” Hawkes told racing.com.
“So I’ll recommend to the owners we just wait for another day.
“She’s a nice mare and she’s Group 1-placed, she’s a bit stronger this time around, so hopefully we can draw a decent barrier next week and have a bit more luck.”
If connections decide to wait another week, Hawkes has earmarked the Listed $120,000 Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley as a suitable Spring Carnival opener.
Further on into the Spring Carnival Hawkes said that he would target some of the better mares races and she has also been nominated for the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
“She’ll run in some of the mares’ races, but who knows whether she gets to the Cox Plate level or some of the real better races,” Hawkes said.
“She has to go up another notch on what she was in New Zealand, but she’s progressing along really well.”
Sardaaj is currently on the second line of betting in the Regal Roller takes at $6.50 just behind the Ladbrokes.com.au $5.50 favourite Yesterday’s Song.
In a very wide betting race first emergency Pressing is next in the market order at $7.50 ahead of Griante and Stratum Star at $8.50 and topweight Fast ‘N’ Rockinng and Barbed at $9.
Regal Roller Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Yesterday’s Song, $6.50 Sardaaj, $7.50 Pressing, $8.50 Griante, Stratum Star, $9 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, Barbed, $11 Platinum Rocker, Setinum, $12 Stingray, $18 Late Charge, $19 Inspector, $21 PagoRock, $34 Bondeiger, Sea Lord, $41 Mister Milton, $51 Mr Make Believe.