If Love Conquers All had been able to convert all of his second placing’s into wins, there may well be another horse in the reckoning for horse of the year.
Love Conquers All has finished second in five of his previous six starts, including his last four.
And it’s not as if he has been racing against easy company. No less than three of those second placing’s have come in Group One events.
Love Conquers All finished second to Beaded in the Doomben 10,000, second to Sacred Choice in the Doncaster, and second to Rangirangdoo in the George Ryder. Two of the defeats came in photos.
But rather than get depressed with their lack of luck, the Hawkes team are buttering up again and entering the four year old Mossman colt in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Stradbroke will be the final start in what has been an arduous campaign for the Hawkes team, who train the horse on behalf of Nick Moraitis.
Wayne Hawkes is overseeing the horse’s preparations on the Sunshine Coast and said that the horse had pulled up well after the Doomben 10,000 start.
“He went to the Caloundra track this morning and worked well and did what was asked of him. He is nice and bright and he has pulled up good and looking forward to Saturday.
“Hopefully getting to the bigger track in the Stradbroke at Eagle Farm will suit him down to the ground.” Hawkes said.
Hawkes also said that he was not worried about the run of second’s and that it illustrated the horses fighting qualities.
“He is like a caged lion as he just keeps attacking the line; he is a fighter and does not lie down.
“He is fantastic and he is bright and I cannot fault him at all. It is up to him and Chris Munce now to get the best out of him and get that number one spot,” continued Hawkes.
Hawkes also said that he was not worried about forecast rain, as he believes his horse handles all conditions. Love Conquers All is Group One placed on a heavy track and has also won listed races on good tracks.
Love Conquers All meets Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded 1.5kg better at the weights after the Peter Snowden trained mare was hit with a penalty after her win. Love Conquers All will carry 53.5kg in the Stradbroke, while Beaded will carry 53kg. There was a 2kg difference between the horses in the Doomben 10,000.
Love Conquers All is currently third favourite for the Group One Stradbroke at $7.00, behind Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded ($5.00) and two time defending champion Black Piranha ($6.50).
Weights for the Stradbroke Handicap will be raised 1kg when final acceptances are made. Hay List was originally given 57kg in the race, but his scratching has meant that Black Piranha is the highest weighted horse with 56kg. The minimum the top weight can carry in a Group One handicap is 57kg.
If Black Piranha is to win for a third straight year he will need to carry more weight than any horse since Rough Habit won for the second time in a row with 58.5kg in 1992.