The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained hit-and-miss galloper Himalaya Dreaming will be working hard from the outside alley to remain a winning chance in Saturday’s 2016 Winter Challenge.
Just 10 runners line-up in this year’s $150,000 Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, Team Hawkes’ French import Himalaya Dreaming charged with overcoming the outside alley.
Tommy Berry stays in the saddle of the Stormy River six-year-old after the duo combined for a last start third behind Farolitos over the Randwick mile on a Heavy (9) track last start on July 9.
That followed a Benchmark 85 win over the same track (Rosehill) and distance (1500m) as the Winter Challenge when atoning from back-to-back lasts in the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) when 16th in mid-May and Randwick when 11th over 1800m a fortnight later.
While consistency isn’t Himalaya Dreaming’s MO, co-trainer Michael Hawkes is hoping the galloper has hit some kind of peak form as he looks to break his stakes’ maiden in the Winter Challenge.
“It’s taken a while to work him out,” Hawkes told AAP.
Himalaya Dreaming has had five starts at Rosehill for a trio of wins, all of the victories being over his pet distance of 1500m.
As well as retaining Berry as his hoop on Saturday, Himalaya Dreaming also drops from 57kg last time out to the 54kg minimum in the quality handicap.
That along with the likely Soft-rated track for the weekend are all positives according to Hawkes and the bookies with the horse at single-figures ($8.50) in the latest Winter Challenge odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“As long as he puts his best foot forward he’s going to be a winning chance again,” Hawkes said.
“He likes the track and he likes the distance so we’ve elected to keep him there again.
“He’s going up in grade, but down in weight.”
Sitting top of the latest Winter Challenge betting markets at $4.20 is Kim Waugh’s last start Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) winner at the track Oxford Poet followed by the runner-up in the same race Zin Zan Eddie ($4.40) who gets the inside run from barrier one this weekend.
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