Saturday in Sydney presents the last chance for the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained La Amistad to make the Caulfield Cup 2014 field in Melbourne next month with the mare to run in The Metropolitan Handicap.
One of three elite level features on the Royal Randwick card, this weekend’s $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) is a do-or-die lead-up for a number of stayers eyeing a run in the $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) over the border on October 18.
Included is Redoute’s Choice five-year-old La Amistad who will be having her fourth run for the season on Saturday.
Not having won a race since a four length effort in the Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick in May, the promising mare is nominated for all the majors this spring including the Caulfield Cup and even more ambitiously the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
Whether she even makes the field for the former however all comes down to her winning The Metropolitan which would give her a boost to help move her up the Caulfield Cup ballot.
Allocated only 50kg she is currently equal 36th on the Caulfield Cup order of entry, and co-trainer John Hawkes knows just how badly she needs to be winning the Group 1 on Saturday.
“La Amistad has to win the Metrop to get into the Caulfield Cup,” he told TVN on Monday.
“If she doesn’t win it she won’t get into the Caulfield Cup.
“It’s an even field; there are quite a few chances. We have a chance in it.
“She can stay, that’s one thing that she can do.”
Those circumstances are also reflected in the futures Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au where La Amistad is rated a $51 outsider in markets led by Japanese raider Bande and Vinery Stud winner Lucia Valentina at $9 each.
Saturday will also be the defining moment for La Amistad’s stablemate Entirely Platinum whose Caulfield Cup dream is also on the line at Flemington.
The Pentire gelding is even further down the Caulfield Cup ballot (40th) with 51.5kg and pays $41.
He came close to securing a ballot free ride into the race last time out at Caulfield on September 20 when a nose away second behind Gris Caro in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m), something Hawkes hopes the five-year-old can atone for in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.
It will be some tough competition he faces however with other notable Turnbull Stakes nominees being four-time Group 1 winner Silent Achiever, current Caulfield Cup co-favourite Lucia Valentia, last start Underwood Stakes runner-up Happy Trails who won the Turnbull last year, Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup fancy The Offer and Puissance De Lune.
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