Gai Waterhouse has given Laser Hawk the nod for their much awaited return, the Rosehill Guineas winner to run first-up in this Saturday’s 2013 Apollo Stakes at Warwick Farm.
A crucial lead-up for gallopers heading towards the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) back at ‘The Farm’ on March 9, the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) is shaping up as a beauty this year.
One of the top-rated of the 14 nominees for the race is Artie Schiller four-year-old Laser Hawk, a half-brother to 2007 Apollo Stakes winner Desert War, the gelding having enjoyed a super Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival last year.
After a second-up third to super filly Mosheen in the Randwick Guineas they went on to score a gritty win over subsequent Cox Plate hero Ocean Park in the Rosehill Guineas.
They stepped up to the mile and a half next start for the Australian Derby at Royal Randwick and were far from disgraced when one and a half lengths away third to Ethiopia in the classic.
It has now been nearly a year away from racing for Laser Hawk who has suffered a number of setbacks during their break including a bone chip discovered just days after their Derby run.
“We were told we could have him back in three to four months but we decided to give him six months out to give him every chance of a full recovery,” Eduardo Cojuangco’s racing manager Andrew Baddock explained.
Last month Laser Hawk looked set for an earlier first-up assignment when they posted a nice barrier trial win.
Connections however were forced to give them a longer recovery after discovering they were suffering from a foot abscess which nearly saw their return this weekend delayed.
But Baddock has since confirmed Laser Hawk will be an Apollo Stakes acceptor and that they are in good form for their return after working well at Randwick on Tuesday morning
“He had a little issue with a foot which is now resolved and it’s all systems go for Saturday,” Baddock said.
“He’s back on track and he’s in good order. He didn’t miss any work or anything.
“Considering his history, we’re happy just to have that and nothing else.
“Obviously he is going to be better with a bit of match practice but Gai told me on Sunday he’s certainly forward enough to kick off on Saturday.”
Waterhouse will also be represented in the Apollo Stakes 2013 by her The Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold.
Last seen running a brave sixth to Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup, the Refuse To Bend gelding is the current $7 ante-post favourite at bookmaker.com.au to win the $2.25 million Group 1 The BMW (2500m) at Rosehill on April 6.
Among the other notable Apollo Stakes nominees are then six from the stables of Chris Waller including Danleigh who won this race two years ago, Melbourne Cup fourth placed Kelinni and reigning Chipping Norton Stakes winner Shoot Out.
The 2013 Apollo Stakes final field and barriers will be released on Wednesday and published right here at Races.com.au.
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