Hawkspur is set to return to the races in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday and trainer Chris Waller has revealed that the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 could be the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnivaltarget for the Group 1 winner.
Hawkspur won the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) in impressive fashion during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and he went into last year’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) as favourite, but could only make up ground to finish seventh before failing to fire in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Waller believes that Hawkspur does not have the staying credentials to be set for a Cups campaign during his spring preparation, but he still believes that the Purrealist gelding has the quality to score another Group 1 victory and is confident that the Turnbull Stakes could be the race for the five-year-old after he finished a luckless fifth last year.
“Hawkspur is a weight-for-age horse because of his rating and he won the Chelmsford last year and he has come back a bit stronger this year,” Waller said.
“We will try and keep him to the mile and 2000 metre races this year as well because although he won the Queensland Derby, I don’t think that he is a genuine stayer.
“We will probably target a race like the Turnbull for him early in October.”
Hawkspur will kick-off his spring campaign in the Missile Stakes this weekend and Waller admitted yesterday that he would be happy with a midfield finish for all three of his runners in the Group 2 event.
The talented gelding is yet to record a first-up victory during his racing career to date, with his best effort a second place finish behind Happy Bao Bei in a maiden at Kembla Grange in 2012 and he produced a very disappointing performance first-up in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) during his autumn campaign.
Punters are not confident that Hawkspur will be able to turn around his poor first-up record and he is available at a quote of $41 in the 2014 Missile Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.
Rebel Dane is back into favouritism at Missile Stakes odds of $3.60 from Sweet Idea ($3.80), Messene ($4), Boban ($9), Weary ($9) and Thump ($10).