Gai Waterhouse’s returning Sydney Cup winner The Offer heads a small but quality field of gallopers facing off at Hawkesbury Racecourse in the Rowley Mile 2015 this Thursday.
The $100,000 Listed ILG XXXX Gold Hawkesbury Rowley Mile (1600m) has this year attracted a final field of just eight hopefuls, the field and weights led by 2014 Sydney Cup champ The Offer.
A now seven-year-old son of Montjeu, The Offer is allocated a hefty 61kg for his returning run from barrier five with Blake Shinn booked for the ride, the gelding not having raced since an eighth in a black-type at the Gold Coast over 1800m on June 20.
Last year’s Sydney Cup over the two miles was the horse’s last win, his spring campaign not including any top three finishes and ending with an 11th to the ill-fated Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October.
Following The Offer in the Rowley Mile weights, the only other hopeful allocated above the 54kg minimum is the Chris Waller-trained Rugged Cross.
Drawn in gate seven with Brenton Avdulla to ride, the imported Cape Cross seven-year-old won the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) in the wet at Rosehill on July 18 before a third at the same track on August 1 in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m).
His latest run was only last Saturday, also at Rosehill, when fourth to Centre Pivot in the Spring Preview (1400m), and Thursday will be his second run at Hawkesbury after his smart third in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) this June.
There are two last start winners in the Rowley Mile line-up this week with the Garry Frazer-trained Campania drawn well in gate two and John Thompson’s Dragon Flyer with Kerrin McEvoy to ride from barrier four.
Six-year-old Dubai Destination mare Campania comes off a 1900m win at Rosehill from the start of the month, Thursday her fifth run at Hawkesbury Racecourse.
Fellow six-year-old Dragon Flyer has had one previous run at the track when third in a maiden on debut in October 2012, the son of Pendragon coming off a 1550m Canterbury win from last Wednesday.
Along with The Offer the other first-up Rowley Mile hope this season is the Tara & Philippe Vigouroux-trained Uncle Sugar.
The Danroad gelding boasts two wins from four previous Hawkesbury runs and has winning form up to 2100m.
His latest start was on June 8 at Rosehill over the mile and a half when runner-up, beaten only half a length, and how he handles the notable drop back from 2400m to 1600m this week will be key to his chances.
He flew in a Randwick trial on August 10 though over 1200m winning by 1.5 lengths in a nice effort that showed he was fit for Thursday’s feature.
Rounding out the Hawkesbury Rowley Mile field are the rails-drawn Aussie Rules mare Footy Fan to be ridden by apprentice Claire Nutman, the Terry Croft-trained Lonhro gelding Vite Loni and veteran nine-year-old Color Purple in the outside alley who ran fourth over 1300m at Kembla Grange over the weekend.
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2015 Rowley Mile Final Field & Barrier Draw
Hawkesbury Race 6 (3:45pm) – 20/08/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11x5960x8x||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||5||61kg||107|
|2||9123354134||RUGGED CROSS (GB)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||7||57kg||99|
|4||20x60x4534||FOOTY FAN||Wade Slinkard||Ms Claire Nutman (a)||1||54kg||80|
|5||x67518212x||UNCLE SUGAR (NZ)||Tara & Philippe Vigouroux||TBA||3||54kg||75|
|6||3427×35261||DRAGON FLYER||John P Thompson||Kerrin McEvoy||4||54kg||74|
|7||5x27x1x358||VITE LONI||Terry Croft||TBA||6||54kg||70|
|8||2D5336x754||COLOR PURPLE||William Slater||TBA||8||54kg||64|