The “Rockhampton Rocket” Our Boy Malachi cemented his Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap 2015 target this winter with a big Sydney win in the Hall Mark Stakes at Royal Randwick on All Aged Stakes Day.
Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes’ ultra-consistent Top Echelon six-year-old again proved his outstanding nature posting his 17th career win at start number 19 saluting for the punters in the $150,000 Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m).
Ridden by Tommy Berry from an outside barrier 11 draw in the set weights plus penalties autumn showdown, Our Boy Malachi was first-up having last been seen winning at the same track and distance in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) last December.
The break from racing had taken none of the shine off the super sprinter in the making who continued his brilliant record, this time posting a Group 3 win to kick off another stellar campaign.
“When we first got him we knew we had something, horses don’t just win 13 races,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.
Now boasting six first-up wins from seven attempts, Our Boy Malachi is in preparation for a trip back home to Queensland to chase the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival majors.
Hawkes confirmed today’s all-too-easy win put the horse in the box seat for three Group 1 targets in Brisbane starting with the $500,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) on Doomben Cup Day, May 9.
From there he’ll back-up two weeks later over more distance in the $750,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) which last produced a Stradbroke Handicap winner back in 2012 with Mid Summer Music from the Peter Moody stables.
Queensland’s richest race, the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) runs over 50m shorter at Doomben Racecourse this winter and is the confirmed Grand Final target for Our Boy Malachi on June 6.
“He was under siege (today), but good horses find and we had him wound up enough today,” Hawkes said.
“He’s a serious galloper.
“After last prep we decided to give him a crack at the Stradbrokes and he’ll run in the BTC Cup, the 10,000 and then into the Stradbroke.”
Our Boy Malachi was probably at his most vulnerable in the Hall Mark Stakes then with such a long way to go between now and his major aim, but even that couldn’t help out his rivals.
It was the Joe Pride-trained Rain Affair who was best out of the barriers taking up the front position to pull out to a big lead early, zipping ahead of the favourite Our Boy Malachi who was stalking in second.
Our Boy Malachi was right up on the speed while another of Pride’s runners Craftiness sat third on the inside as they approached the turn for home, the Starcraft four-year-old chasing his seventh win at start number eight.
On the straight Rain Affair held a long lead from Our Boy Malachi ($2.50) who was camped behind him, and while he got the kick away he started to get tiered.
The eventual winner was then brought along by Berry who popped the question to him quite late, the champ from the sunshine state digging deep to fight it out with Craftiness ($8) also coming on well.
Craftiness strived hard but it was all Our Boy Malachi in the end, the punters’ pick doing it again to win by a length while the Gordon Yorke-trained roughie Hidden Warrior ($71) crossed a distant third over two lengths further back.
Now firmly entrenched in the top grade, Our Boy Malachi was the deserving winner responding well when Berry asked him to.
“What’s not to like about him?” Berry said post-win.
“He does everything right. He’s an absolute winner.
“He’s very honest.
“He’s all guts and he beat a class field here today and he’ll be hard to beat in Queensland.
“This was their chance to beat him today, he’s got a long way to go to his main aim.
“It’s back up to Queensland where he’s from now and he’ll be good for his owners up there.”
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2015 Hall Mark Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 7 – 18/04/2015
|1||10||OUR BOY MALACHI||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||–||11||57.5kg||$2.50F|
|2||13||CRAFTINESS||Joseph Pride||Blake Shinn||1L||3||56kg||$8|
|3||11||HIDDEN WARRIOR||Gordon Yorke||Jim Cassidy||2.3L||5||56kg||$71|
|4||4||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||2.5L||7||58.5kg||$13|
|5||2||CHARLIE BOY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tye Angland||2.7L||4||59kg||$16|
|6||8||TARGET IN SIGHT||Joseph Pride||Joshua Parr||3.1L||12||58kg||$7.50|
|7||7||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||Steven Arnold||3.2L||6||58kg||$41|
|8||1||ROCK STURDY||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||4.4L||9||59kg||$17|
|9||3||BIG MONEY||Rodney Northam||Robert Thompson||4.9L||10||58.5kg||$7.50|
|10||12||VASHKA||John O’Shea||James McDonald||6.9L||2||56kg||$12|
|11||6||HEART TESTA||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||7.4L||8||58kg||$41|
|12||5||DECISION TIME||Clarry Conners||Brenton Avdulla||8.3L||1||58kg||$51|
|13||9||WOULDNT IT BE NICE||Paul Perry||Sam Clipperton||12.8L||13||58kg||$101|