Leebaz has been confirmed to run in Saturday’s Listed The Sofitel (1400m) at Flemington Racecourse, and co-trainer Wayne Hawkes could not be more confident the talented gelding will return to competition for success.
Leebaz has not been seen at the races since failing to fire and fourteenth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane on May 9th, but has reportedly taken huge benefit from his time in the paddock and subsequent return to work.
Hawkes told Racing Ahead the horse is ready for a typically polished first-up run in the 2015 The Sofitel and is confident the conditions of the race will play directly into the strengths of the classy six-year-old.
“His first-up record is terrific, he’s great and he’s well,” Hawkes said.
“Still looks a tad average because he came back in with a woolly coat and we had to clip him, and clipping him has meant his coat still hasn’t come right out.
“He’s a good horse and he’ll be hard to beat – the 1400m at Flemington will suit him to the ground.
“He’ll be up there on the speed somewhere.”
Leebaz has posted seven wins and a further five minors through his eighteen career starts so far and has been a strong and consistent performer for Team Hawkes since first appearing on course competitively in early 2013.
Arguably finding career-best form to date through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, the Zabeel gelding won a pair of minor Sydney sprints upon resuming; progressing to second in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) and success in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup (1600m) before placing second in the Doomben Cup.
Returning for just two starts during the 2014 Spring Carnival, highlighted by fourth in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), Leebaz took a few runs to find condition upon resuming this year, but placed second in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) and won the Group 2 Holllindale Stakes (1800m) leading into the Doomben Cup.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 The Sofitel odds, for which Leebaz can be taken at a particularly generous quote of $13 for success.