Trainer Mick Price has confirmed a next-up run in the H.D.F. McNeil Stakes in Melbourne for his progressive colt Hardham before a likely trip to Sydney in September for the Golden Rose Stakes 2016.
The Redoute’s Choice three-year-old won on debut over 1200m at Pakenham during the autumn for Peter Moody before his transfer to Price’s care at Caulfield.
He ran at his home track first-up last weekend in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m), catching the eye with a narrow third beaten only a half-length by the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained winner Russian Revolution.
Price is confident Hardham will continue to improve this season and has next run scheduled for August 27 back at Caulfield Racecourse in the $150,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m).
He also has the youngster working the opposite way of going at home preparing him for a possible run in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney on September 10.
“We’re going to work him here at Caulfield with a couple of reverse-way gallops to get him ready for the Golden Rose,” Price told Racing Victoria.
Price has had just the one previous Golden Rose Stakes runner to date, and hopes all goes to plan with Hardham this season in the lucrative three-years-old showdown.
The trainer described the planning of the horse’s prep as a “juggling act” with the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) over the mile on October 8 also on the radar.
“He’s not a horse that I want to give too many runs to and you’ve got both the Golden Rose and the Caulfield Guineas so it’s a bit of a juggling act,” Price said.
“He’s a lovely colt but he keeps giving me the impression that he’s not a horse that you want to put too much hard work into.
“If everything’s good he’ll run in the Golden Rose, if not, then we’ll keep him here.”
The latest Golden Rose Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Hardham rated a $26 chance, while the horse is at a shorter $17 in the all-in Caulfield Guineas betting markets.
If he lines up in the Caulfield Guineas field later this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Hardham will be Price’s 11th starter in the mile classic.
While yet to train a Caulfield Guineas winner, the horseman has twice run third.
Kiwi galloper Sacred Elixir, who won the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) in Brisbane over the winter, is the early $9 Caulfield Guineas favourite followed by last Saturday’s Vain Stakes champ Russian Revolution ($13).
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