After an early season cold saw spruik colt All Too Hard scratched from last Saturday’s Australian Guineas, trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes are now searching for suitable next-up options for the triple Group 1 winner with the George Ryder Stakes 2013 looking a nice choice.
The Casino Prince colt, a half-brother to super mare Black Caviar, has been in flying form this Melbourne Festival of Racing enjoying back-to-back Group 1 wins in February.
Winner of the Caulfield Guineas last spring before their extremely close second to Ocean Park in the Cox Plate, All Too Hard resumed with a win over Mawingo in the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
They returned to the track two weeks later with a Blue Diamond Stakes Day victory in the Futurity Stakes after which they were set to jump odds-on favourite in the Australian Guineas over the Flemington mile seven days later.
Suffering from a minor cold however All Too Hard was withdrawn from the Guineas sending connections back to the drawing board in regards to where to next.
While there is no doubt skipping the Guineas was a set-back, Wayne Hawkes said it was better they got sick before the race and not after.
“I was very thankful it happened Saturday morning and not Saturday afternoon,” Hawkes said.
“He quite possibly would have won, but he might have been a bit of a mess afterwards.
“I’m very glad we got it early.”
A trip to Sydney for the champ is now on the cards but is dependent on the weather conditions.
“The biggest key is the wet weather in Sydney,” Hawkes said.
“I’d rather keep him down here in the sunshine than send up there to those wet tracks.”
However a high priority option for Hawkes’ father and co-trainer John Hawkes looks to be the $400,000 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Day, April 6.
“The Ryder’s also over 1500m at weight-for-age … it looks pretty good for him,” Wayne Hawkes said, a race his father’s former champion Lonhro won in 2004 on the back of three earlier wins during their final prep including the CF Orr – Australian Cup double.
As for races which have been ruled out Hawkes confirmed there would be no media frenzy with a clash with his older half-sister Black Caviar in the $400,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23 a non-option.
Also out are the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20 and the $400,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) back at that track a week later.
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