High quality mare Prompt Response is in the mix...
The Hawkes team are set to try an unusual tactic with Stradbroke hopeful Love Conquers All at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Michael Hawkes, who has been overseeing the preparation of Love Conquers All on the Sunshine Coast said that his charge would race in a visor, which is a cut out version of blinkers.
“We cut a diamond shaped hole in the blinker cup, which effectively allows the horse to have a bit better peripheral sight,” said Hawkes.
The rare gear change is an attempt to make Love Conquers All stronger at the end of his races.
At the 200m mark in the Doomben 10,000, eventual winner Beaded loomed up to Love Conquers All and looked as if it was going to pull away for an easy win. However Love Conquers All responded when he saw the mare on his outside and fought back to go down by a nose.
It is hoped the visor will bring out more of that fight in Nick Moraitis owned four year old.
“He’s a genuine racehorse. He might be a stallion but he’s a professional,” said Hawkes.
“He’s an entire and maybe he just wavered for a few strides in the 10,000. He only had to find a couple of centimetres and he would have won.”
It seems as if Love Conquers All has been searching for those few extra centimetres in his last four runs.
Love Conquers All has finished second in each of his last four starts.
He was second in the Canterbury Stakes behind More Joyous, before finishing runner up to Rangirangdoo in the George Ryder. He was then second in the Doncaster behind Sacred Choice, before his most recent run saw him go down by a nose to Beaded in the Doomben 10,000.
The Hawkes team may take some consolation from the fact that Black Piranha also finished second in the George Ryder, Doncaster and Doomben 10,000 before taking out the Stradbroke Handicap in 2009.
The Hawkes team, which is made up of father John and brothers Michael and Wayne, have not had the best of luck in Group Ones in recent years. Since Fiumicino’s win in the 2009 BMW, team Hawkes has had ten Group One placegetters. Most notably Love Conquers All and Maluckyday in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
However things are by no means dire for the Hawkes team who have had 38 winners from 247 runners this season, earning them a total of $3.8 million.
“Our big race record is very good considering we only have 20 horses in Melbourne and 25 in Sydney,” said Michael Hawkes.
Hawkes went on to say that he was undaunted by the fact that Love Conquers All had been drawn in gate 16 for the Stradbroke, sighting the fact that the horse has performed well when ridden back and when on the speed.
Chris Munce, who has been in the saddle of Love Conquers All at his last three starts will again partner the horse.
Love Conquers All currently sits just behind the favourites in Stradbroke betting at $7.50.
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