Leebaz ran a close second to Streama in the 2014 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident the talented gelding is in career-best form leading into the 2015 edition of the race on Saturday.
Posting a commendable race record of seven wins and a further five minor through 17 career starts so far, Leebaz returned this time for sixth in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on March 7th; progressing to third in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) before missing the start and failing to recover when eleventh in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.
Having since placed second in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) and won the key form-indicating Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on the Gold Coast a fortnight ago, Hawkes told Racing Ahead the five-year-old son of Zabeel has relished his time in Queensland and is confident he is in the right condition to go one better in the 2015 Doomben Cup.
“All his runs have been good. His run the week before was good in Sydney (JRA Plate),” Hawkes said.
“He blew the start in the Doncaster and was beaten five and a half lengths.
“I wouldn’t say he’s a dead-set wet tracker either so to get beaten in a bottomless Doncaster, five lengths when you blow the start. He’s in good form.
“He ran second in this race last year to Streama. She was on us the whole way and Blake (Shinn) rode Streama about 13 out of 10 and she nailed us.
“We’ve basically all but done the job in this race last year and he’s great, he’s well and he’s an absolute treat since the Gold Coast as well.
“He’s going to the up on the pace, up in the first four or five.
“He’s in career-best form, there’s no doubting that.”
Jim Byrne delivered a gem of a ride on Leebaz for success in the Hollindale Stakes and has been confirmed to retain the ride for the 2015 Doomben Cup.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently displaying the best 2015 Doomben Cup odds, for which Leebaz has already experienced notable attention from punters who have seen the five-year-old into a quote of $5 having opened at $5.50.
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