The ever confident Gai Waterhouse has put aside a wide barrier for favourite Laser Hawk in her pursue to win her first Australian Derby at Randwick on Saturday.
The lightly raced Laser Hawk shot to favouritism for the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Derby (2400m) after taking out the Group 1 $500,000 Flinders Lane Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 31 from Ocean Park and Silent Achiever.
Waterhouse is having an outstanding Autumn carnival and as well as taking out the Rosehill Guineas, she saddled up a winning treble last Saturday at Rosehill including the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) with Pierro and the Group 1 $400,000 Inglis Queen Of The Turf Stakes with More Joyous.
Laser Hawk has drawn barrier eleven out of thirteen runners while Ocean Park came up with six and the only filly in the race Silent Achiever also drew wide at nine.
“We are not worried about the barrier. He is a big horse that likes to roll along. It doesn’t make a difference to him,” Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse is pleased with the progress Laser Hawk has made since the Guineas win and said that she could not fault his condition after yesterday’s work.
“I can’t fault him,” Waterhouse said. “The 2400m is ideal and exactly what he needs. He’s been set for the Derby all along and the Rosehill Guineas was a very nice bonus to pick up along the way. He’s a rising star.”
Long time Randwick clocker Craig Tompson said that Laser Hawk is peaking at the right time for the Derby after watching him progress through the grades during this campaign.
“He is not the world’s flashest worker but I think Gai has got him right where she wants him,” Tompson said.
“I don’t think they had him screwed down going into the Rosehill Guineas; he looked as though there was still more to come. If he can run the trip, then it is hard to imagine he isn’t going to be right in the finish.”
Stable ride Nash Rawiller saved as much ground as possible when he steered Laser Hawk home by a short margin from Kiwis Ocean Park and Silver Achiever who both had to make long wide runs in the Guineas.
Rawiller is certain to let the Artie Schiller three year old roll across to the fence before getting him to settle while Glen Boss on Ocean Park will be able to give his colt a nice soft run in behind.
Sydney’s leading jockey Hugh Bowman will again be aboard Silent Achiever whose usual racing pattern is to settle well back in the field before making a long well timed run.
The Derby is shaping as good contest with many live chances, including the Anthony Cummings trained Strike The Stars, Rekindled Alliance and the Group 2 $175,000 Myer Tulloch Stakes winner Polish Knight.