After a strong staying performance to win the 2015 A.D. Hollindale Stakes on the Gold Coast it will be straight up to Brisbane for another run in the Doomben Cup for the Sydney-based, Team Hawkes-trained Leebaz.
As a four-year-old last Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the nicely-bred Zabeel gelding ran a brave second behind classy mare Streama, who won last year’s Hollindale, in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
The $650,000 Group 1 on May 9 is now on the agenda again for Leebaz who this year scrapped into the Hollindale field in the 11th hour before going on to win the traditional Doomben Cup lead-up in gutsy run.
“He was underrated today,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.
“His run in the Doncaster was very good. He missed the start and had to make up a lot of ground (last start).
“We were sweating on him getting a run being the first emergency (today), but the rest is history.
“He’s won good.
“Obviously we’re targeting the Doomben Cup…a good mare Streama beat him last year.”
Eleventh two back in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in Sydney, Leebaz came off a second to Gypsy Diamond in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick only last Saturday.
He was first emergency for the Hollindale Stakes, the field based on prize money earned not ratings this year, and got the call-up after the early scratching of Mornington Cup winner Banca Mo from the race.
Evergreen jockey Jim Byrne scored his second for the day following a winning Prime Minister’s Cup ride aboard the Stradbroke Handicap-bound Neo earlier on the card, riding Leebaz exactly as instructed.
From barrier two it was the John Thompson-trained Hooked who was first out of the gates to find the lead, Byrne letting Leebaz settle into second stalking the frontrunner.
The top two held their positions leading from the likes of local galloper Rudy and the Matt Laurie-trained Escado who had Blake Shinn in the saddle.
Eight hundred metres out Leebaz had the leader in his sights, Hooked holding front spot on the inside coming into the turn for home.
Rudy was quickly put under pressure while Arabian Gold took the shortcuts and four-time Group 1 winner and race favourite Silent Achiever went to the outside.
Leebaz found the front 300m out, but the Steven O’dea-trained Sir Moments was quickly called upon to challenge by his hoop Brenton Avdulla.
A Brisbane-based Choisir four-year-old, Sir Moments came off a 1630m win at Doomben from earlier in the month and O’dea used the Hollindale as a test to see whether his horse was up to the grade this winter, a step up in class he passed with flying colours.
Sir Moments ($10) came home hard and fast after the leader over the final 200m trying to pick up Leebaz, but Leebaz ($8) just held on to win by a neck.
Chris Waller’s rejuvenated veteran I’m Imposing ($21) ran an eye-catching third in his Queensland debut, the rising 10-year-old improving off a George Ryder Stakes 10th to Real Impact and now right in the frame for the Doomben Cup as well.
Leebaz stuck his head out on the line and got the win on the board, thriving with the blinkers going on, a performance that impressed Hawkes.
“The blinkers switched him on,” he said.
“He looks like he’ll get further.”
Byrne will be fighting now to stay on Leebaz in the Group 1, tipping the horse to run well in his second shot at the race.
“I thought it was a really dogged effort today,” he said.
“It’ll be a good run (in the Doomben Cup).”
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2015 AD Hollindale Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Gold Coast Race 8 – 25/04/2015
|1||15e||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jim Byrne||–||4||59kg||$8|
|2||9||SIR MOMENTS||Steven O’dea||Brenton Avdulla||7||59kg||$9|
|3||10||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||12||59kg||$14|
|4||2||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Larry Cassidy||9||59kg||$18|
|5||3||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart & James Cummings||Glen Colless||13||59kg||$51|
|6||1||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Chad Schofield||14||59kg||$31|
|7||7||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||6||59kg||$31|
|8||13||SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ)||Roger James||Kerrin McEvoy||11||57kg||$6F|
|9||14||ARABIAN GOLD||David Vandyke||Damien Oliver||5||57kg||$7.50|
|10||4||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Leith Innes||8||59kg||$10|
|11||8||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Hugh Bowman||2||59kg||$9|
|12||12||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Blake Shinn||1||59kg||$31|
|13||5||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||3||59kg||$9|
|14||11||RUDY||Helen Page||Luke Tarrant (a)||10||59kg||$13|
|–||17e||PORNICHET (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||–||0||–||–|
|–||18e||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||–||0||–||–|
|–||6||BANCA MO||Scott Brunton||Ms Casey Bruce||–||0||–||–|
|–||16e||WISH COME TRUE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||–||0||–||–|