Having only been confirmed as a definite Cox Plate 2012 chance at the eleventh hour, connections of boom colt All Too Hard are now expressing their confidence with the exciting three-year-old as they prepare for Saturday’s weight-for-age showdown at Moonee Valley.
One of 14 final acceptors for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) the Nathan Tinkler-owned son of Casino Prince, purchased for a hefty $1.025 million as a yearling being a half-brother to Australia’s best racehorse Black Caviar, is also one of three three-year-olds looking to become just the fifth Cox Plate winner of that age in history.
Drawn ideally in barrier three with Chris Munce to ride, All Too Hard was last seen beating home current Cox Plate favourite Pierro by half a length when running them down in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
They earned a call up for the Cox Plate 2012 however after impressing their trainers with a strong piece of work at Flemington early on Tuesday morning.
“He worked great this morning, he always works great,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said yesterday.
“He’s a really flash trackworker. He didn’t work any better or worse than two weeks ago but you’re just trying to cover all bases and cross off everything one step after the other.”
Saturday they step up to the 2000m and see Moonee Valley for the first time and while beaten Caulfield Guineas favourite Pierro is dominating the Cox Plate odds at $4 through bookmaker.com.au, All Too Hard is rated a $10 chance.
The history on Caulfield Guineas winners in the Cox Plate may be pretty dismal, just one of the 17 who have tried succeeding, Team Hawkes are convinced All Too Hard is a special horse that is in with a genuine chance on Saturday.
And if anyone should know what it takes to train a three-year-old to win the Cox Plate it is John Hawkes who now trains in partnership with sons Wayne and Michael Hawkes.
He was successful with Octagonal in their three-year-old season back in 1995 and came close again with then 3YO Viscount who ran a close third to Northerly for their first of two Cox Plate victories in 2001.
“The end result is that he’s a colt worth a lot of money,” Wayne Hawkes said.
“He has won the race (the Caulfield Guineas) that John Hawkes wanted to win with him and John Hawkes has got a pretty good record with three-year-olds in the Cox Plate.
“He nearly did it with Viscount and he did it with Octagonal.
“He actually knows what it takes to win the race with a three-year-old.”
Along with All Too Hard and Pierro the other three-year-old in the Cox Plate mix this year is Pierro’s stablemate, the fellow Gai Waterhouse-trained Proisir who has been backed into $9.
“The three-year-olds are a special group this year,” Waterhouse, whose late father Tommy Smith won the 1984 Cox Plate with three-year-old Red Anchor, said at Tuesday’s barrier draw.
“They are all really above average and they have got the weight advantage over the older horses.”