Team Hawkes are looking at a Queensland Winter Racing Carnival raid with their progressive Zabeel gelding Zephyron who could target the Brisbane Cup 2014 following their win in Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) in Sydney.
Rated a $16 chance in the Rosehill showdown over the weekend after their disappointing 11th a fortnight before behind Spilway in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m), five-year-old Zephyron enjoyed a firmer track in the Lord Mayors Cup.
Ridden by apprentice hoop Taylor Marshall they held on in a narrow finish with the Chris Waller-trained import and $2.60 favourite I’m Imposing to win by a long neck.
Waller also prepared third placegetter Secessio ($11) who improved on a last start seventh over the mile at Warwick Farm to cross a further length away to round out the Lord Mayors Cup trifecta.
It was a gutsy effort from the winner who has now saluted in four of their 14 career starts and who could be Queensland bound.
Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes are looking at a Stradbroke Handicap Day target for Zephyron on June 7 at Eagle Farm in the $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) where the former Mark Kavanagh-trained galloper will be tested over the mile and a half for the first time.
It’s a distance Michael Hawkes expect them to handle without issue too describing Zephyron as one of “those more dour 2400m types” when discussing winter plans to the Courier Mail.
Another winner for Hawkes and the in-form Marshall from Rosehill on Saturday, Forster may also have earned a Brisbane Carnival campaign after their close victory in the $85,000 Candana Bathrooms Handicap (1200m).
Like Zephyron who spent over a year and a half sidelined with a leg injury during 2012-13 before returning in October last year, Choisir five-year-old Forster was also out injured from February last year until their April 6 comeback this autumn.
They’re undefeated since returning at Gosford with three on the trot thanks to their Rosehill win on the weekend, form they could take to Brisbane especially if the wet weather stays around in the ‘sunshine state’.
“Forster has always had the ability but has just needed time. He loves wet tracks as well and we might look to take him north now,” Hawkes told The Sunday Telegraph.
The stable is also looking at a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) this weekend with another son of Zabeel, four-year-old Leebaz.
The up-and-comer has won six from nine to date and entered 2014 Doomben Cup calculations after their good win over Wistful in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) on May 3.
While yet to be tested over further than a mile the team is confident in their ability and rate them a good chance to race competitively in a field set to contain the likes of Guy Walter’s Hollindale Stakes champ Streama, Warrnambool Cup winner in the wet earlier this month Akzar and Waller’s Haafhd six-year-old Junoob.
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