Undefeated half-brother to the mighty Black Caviar, All Too Hard will shoot for career win number three in the Pago Pago Stakes 2012 this weekend ahead of a possible shot at the iconic Golden Slipper the following Saturday.
One of eight Group races on the crack nine-event Rosehill Guineas Day program at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, the $175,000 Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) has drawn 12 nominees.
The Pago Pago Stakes winner will be exempt from ballot for the $3.5 million Group 1 AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m) back at the track on April 7 as will the winner of the day’s other juvenile feature, the $175,000 Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) for fillies.
Casino Prince colt All Too Hard has won both of their career starts to date most recently beating a smart field by four lengths in the Group 2 Henry Bucks Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 10.
Trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes made the decision to then bypass last Saturday’s Todman Stakes, won by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Pierro, in favour of a run in the Pago Pago Stakes 2012.
That decision indicates that All Too Hard was unlikely to run in the Golden Slipper with just a week between the Pago and the big event, but they remain the $6.50 third elect in the bookmaker.com.au markets led by the brilliant Samaready ($2.50) and Pierro ($5.50).
Connections have said that their attention was first and foremost on the Pago Pago on Saturday and following that they would make a final decision regarding the Golden Slipper.
“We’ll just get over Saturday and take it from there,” John Hawkes, who has won two Golden Slippers with Guineas (1997) and Forensics (2007) said.
“The horse is fine, we’ve taken him along slowly and he’ll be a better three-year-old.
“We’re just plodding along with him.”
One Pago Pago Stakes hopeful that needs to win to make the Golden Slipper field is the Kevin Moses-trained Collect.
The Fastnet Rock colt debuted when fourth to Pierro in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at the start of the month before their close last stat third to Ashokan in the Group 3 Skyline Stakes (1200m0a t Randwick.
“I feel lucky to be able to train a horse like him,” Moses said of Collect.
“He is a real gentleman, perfect to deal with, and I think he has a lot of ability.
“If we can get him in to the Slipper it would be fantastic. If not, he will go to Sires’ Produce.”
The $500,000 Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 14 is also the other option for All Too Hard should connections skip the Slipper.
Other notable Pago Pago Stakes nominees include Tim Martin’s last-start Gosford winner Le Cap, Chris Waller’s Stratum colt Smart Man and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Purrealist gelding Pure Hustle.
Pure Hustle won their debut at Rosehill back in October before resuming to finish a credible sixth to Ichihara in the Schweppes Plate (1100m) at Warwick Farm three weeks back, Waterhouse confident they will improve on Saturday.
“Pure Hustle is a nice colt and he will run a very good race,” she said.
Pago Pago Stakes nominations have been extended until 11:00am (NSW time) on Tuesday.
To get behind your favourites for the weekend’s racing and the upcoming futures there’s only one bookie offering the best prices, bookmaker.com.au.
2012 Pago Pago Stakes Nominations
Rosehill Gardens – 31/03/2012
|1||ALL TOO HARD||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|3||FOB DUBAI||Chris Waller|
|4||HARD MARKER||Anthony Cummings|
|5||LASER FLASH||David Payne|
|6||LE CAP||Tim Martin|
|9||PURE HUSTLE||Gai Waterhouse|
|10||RISE TO THE TOP||Gary Portelli|
|11||SMART MAN||Chris Waller|
|12||STRENGTH||John P Thompson|