Classy five-year-old Messene has produced a blistering final straight sprint to stroll home in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon ahead of Weary and Molavio.
Having jumped from the gates well, the exciting Lonhro gelding settled second on the heels of early leader Ecuador, allowing his opponent to set the pace rounding the bend before exploding from the pack to open a huge gap to his closest competitors, finding the line an impressive three lengths in the clear.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes was ecstatic with the way Messene took to only his twelfth race start this afternoon; incredibly registering his ninth victory.
“It was a super effort” Hawkes said following the Ajax Stakes.
“It’s really frightening to know what this horse can do; he just jumped, travelled and James (McDonald) got him into a beautiful rhythm.
“At the top of the straight he was always going to win, it was just a matter of how far.”
Having outlined the major Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) as the major target for Messene this season, Hawkes said today’s performance highlights the talented gelding as a strong and realistic chance, particularly with a light weight.
“He’s got 50 kilos so he’s going into the race a live chance” Hawkes added.
“He’s just done everything right; he relaxed and he’ll appreciate a mile and a big track around him as well.
“You’ve got to give the horse credit, he’s a race horse, he wants to put in and he’s a superstar.”
Claiming his second race win for the day after steering Kencella to victory in the Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes, jockey James McDonald delivered another sensational ride on Messene in the Ajax Stakes but was quick to lay the all the praise in the talented gelding.
“He’s a very good horse and he was just bomb-proof in the race” McDonald said following the race.
“He’s got a great turn of foot and just cruises up to them, and he’s an awesome ride.”
Having now extended his current winning streak to seven consecutive races, Messene will enter the Doncaster Mile as a realistic chance of success.
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2014 Ajax Stakes Results
|1||5||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||–||8||54.5kg||$2.80F|
|2||11||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||2.8L||3||53kg||$9|
|3||4||MALAVIO||Steve Englebrecht||Brenton Avdulla||3.3L||2||54.5kg||$11|
|4||8||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||3.4L||7||53kg||$3.40|
|5||2||MONTON||Ron Quinton||Sam Clipperton (a)||4L||4||57kg||$21|
|6||7||LESS IS MORE (FR)||David Vandyke||Jay Ford||5.1L||5||53kg||$51|
|7||1||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Craig Williams||5.2L||1||58kg||$6.50|
|8||10||RHYTHM TO SPARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Glen Boss||8.4L||6||53kg||$31|
|9||3||RIVA DE LAGO||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||9.1L||9||55.5kg||$21|