Leebaz has successfully defended his crown in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) this afternoon; producing an impressive late kick to savage the line comfortably in the clear of Hauraki on the Gold Coast.
Clearly a proven performer at the class and distance, and under the Gold Coast conditions, Leebaz was forgotten in Hollindale Stakes betting markets as punters rallied around Godolphin’s three runners, and left as a rank $34 outsider.
Experiencing a carefree start and taking an ideal position on the heels of Strawberry Boy and Excess Knowledge over the back straight and approaching the bend; failing into a good rhythm.
Jockey Michael Cahill produced Leebaz immediately upon arriving at the final straight and was rewarded for the decision when the gelding produced a keen turn of foot; flying clear to find the line a length ahead of the race favourite; kiwi raider Volkstok’n’Barrell running on well for third.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was delighted with Leebaz’s performance for success in the Hollindale Stakes and confirmed another tilt at the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in a fortnight remains on the cards.
“Its been an unbelievable week and a half,” Hawkes said.
“They went lickety-split, and he doesn’t have to lead this bloke.
“I was a little bit worried early when he was third and they were after a scrimmage but then he settled really well behind Strawberry Boy.
“He obviously goes really well because he won here last year. One thing he does is he normally just grinds, but he sprinted really well today the old boy.
“If you take out the Queen Elizabeth run last start where he just got hammered in front, he won the Easter Cup at Caulfield, so he’s in great form.
“He’s here, he’s hard and fit and I wish they ran the Doomben Cup at the Gold Coast!
“He’s an old gelding, he’s going super and is in unbelievable form again. He was ridden really well, so a great effort and a great week.”
Leebaz has posted an impressive eight wins and six minors through twenty-seven career starts, since first appearing on course competitively in early 2013.
Hauraki is sure to dominate early markets for the 2016 Doomben Cup following another strong performance for second in the feature race.
2016 AD Hollindale Stakes Results
|1||4||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Michael Cahill||–||6||59kg||$31|
|2||2||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||1L||2||59kg||$2.80F|
|3||1||VOLKSTOK’N’BARRELL (NZ)||Donna Logan & Chris Gibbs||Blake Shinn||2.5L||10||59kg||$12|
|4||14||OLD NORTH||John O’Shea||Tim Clark||2.7L||1||56.5kg||$8|
|5||7||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||John O’Shea||Damian Browne||3.2L||8||59kg||$4.40|
|6||10||HONEY TOAST||Ben Currie||Jim Byrne||3.5L||4||59kg||$26|
|7||13||SPIRITJIM (FR)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||4L||3||59kg||$21|
|8||6||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||Jeff Lloyd||5L||9||59kg||$13|
|9||8||KOOL KOMPANY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Robbie Fradd||5.1L||7||59kg||$20|
|10||3||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Ms Tegan Harrison||5.6L||12||59kg||$8|
|11||12||SAKHEE’S SOLDIER (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Matthew Cameron||7.1L||5||59kg||$17|
|12||11||PUCCINI (NZ)||Darren Weir||Glen Colless||10.3L||11||59kg||$26|