Team Hawkes is hoping to provide an upset win in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday with one of their two runners Leebaz and Ninth Legion.
John, Wayne and Michael Hawkes currently train as a partnership but won the 2000 Doncaster Mile with Over when John Hawkes was the head trainer for Crown Lodge before it was taken over by Darley.
Leebaz at $26 and Ninth Legion at $51 are both outsiders of the twenty horse Doncaster Mile field but Wayne Hawkes is not ruling them out of contention, especially with the prospect of another wet track on the first day of ‘The Championships’.
“They actually like wet tracks, to be honest. I’ve actually got wet trackers on Saturday,” Wayne Hawkes told Racing Ahead.
Randwick is currently rated a soft 7 on Wednesday afternoon with 25.8mm of rain falling in the last seven days and with the more showers forecast for the Sydney region for the rest of the week, the prospect of the track improving is remote.
“We have had a shocking amount of rain over the last twenty-four hours, Sydney we have had two inches. Today at Rosehill it is heavy and Randwick has had a stack too,” Hawkes said.
“We don’t need anything more for Saturday at Randwick, that’s for sure.”
“This day last year it was bottomless. They rated it a nine, it should have been a nineteen. From the industry point of view you want a great days racing, everyone punts up and we all make money.”
Hawkes will also saddle up Chautauqua in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) and rates his chances highly on a rain affected track.
“Chautauqua likes a wet track,” Hawkes said.
“Quietly confident with a few good runners on Saturday.”
Leebaz will be backing up after running third to Excess Knowledge in the Group 3 $150,000 Hyland Race Colours Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday and has performed creditably at Group 1 level on three occasions.
The Zabeel five year old was sent out as one of the top fancies in the Group 1 $500,000 Titan Energy Services Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Carnival when second to Streama.
Then during last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival he was beaten just over two lengths when fourth to Hucklebuck in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and then resumed from a spell for a first up sixth to Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 7.
Ninth Legion is coming off a second to Burbero in the Group 2 $175,000 APN Outdoor Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 14 but has a fair record over the famous Randwick Mile.
The Fastnet Rock five year old ran a respectable fifth behind Sacred Falls in last year’s Doncaster Mile and then was beaten less than two lengths when fourth to He’s Your Man in the 2014 Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m).
Doncaster Mile market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Hallowed Crown, $7, Kermadec, Real Impact, $8 Pornichet, $10 Royal Descent, $12 Sweynesse, $15 World Ace, $16 Sacred Falls, $17 It’s Somewhat, Suavito, $21 Happy Trails, Arabian Gold, Hooked, Rudy, $26 Cosmic Endeavour, Diamond Drille, Leebaz, $31 Plucky Belle, $51 Ninth Legion, $67 Moriarty, Destiny’s Kiss, $101 Malavio, Puccini, $151 Aomen.