This Saturday at Sandown the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Onerous will be put to the test in a three-year-olds showdown that could earn him a shot at the Australian Guineas 2015 this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Only nine young guns remain in the mix for the $80,000 William Hill Plate (1300m) at the weekend’s meeting following the early scratching of So You Drink and Samartested.
Current favourite in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets at $3 is market mover Onerous, a Dwayne Dunn mount who will now jump from a nice inside barrier two draw.
The Dash For Cash colt has had three starts to date for two wins and a seventh in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) when outclassed at Flemington by Rich Enough last September.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said the horse had improved off that run and will be a tougher force this time in after getting his maiden campaign out of the way.
“He ran seventh, but he probably should have run third in the Danehill,” Hawkes told Racing Victoria.
“It was just that he’d had enough, that’s all it was.
“First start, he was perfect, then he went there and he hung in the straight (in the Danehill).
“He had trialled well up the straight previously, but he was just over the top and had enough, so we thought we’d just shut him down then and put him away.”
His first-up run this time in was on January 22 at Seymour and he was back in the winner’s stall in a Benchmark 64 over 1109m with a tidy three length victory.
Now he’s back up in class for the William Hill Plate that has attracted a hotter than expected field of up-and-comers.
Some of Onerous’s most notable rivals include the undefeated John O’Shea-trained Hauraki ($4), Darren Weir’s well-tested Doemsday gelding Profit Share ($6), the returning Mark Kavanagh-trained Caulfield Guineas fifth placed Chivalry ($6.50) who won the Group 3 McNeil Stakes last August and Weir’s other runner Stratum Star ($12) last seen running second in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) in mid-November.
Team Hawkes though are happy for their galloper to face such a strong line-up as it will help them better assess his chances in this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7.
“He’s certainly up in class, but if you’re going to head towards races like the Guineas you’ve got to be winning these sort of races or be the unlucky runner,” Hawkes said.
“How the races are programmed, this was just a really good lead-up race heading towards the Guineas, so there’s probably eight or 10 horses there looking to get their ticket into the better race.
“There might be a few bubbles burst on Saturday, hopefully we’re not one of them.”
Early Australian Guineas betting markets are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au with Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win the $7 favourite.
Onerous is also inside the top half of the futures Australian Guineas odds paying $17, a price sure to shorten should he come out and salute for the punters this weekend at Sportingbet Park.
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