The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained Ajax Stakes winner from the weekend Messene has now shot to the top of the Doncaster Mile 2014 odds for the upcoming classic at Randwick on April 12.
A super consistent son of Lonhro, five-year-old Messene ran off with their ninth career win at start number 12 on the weekend flying home in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
It was the lightly-raced gelding’s second black type start following on from their first-up win in the Listed National Sprint (1400m) at Canberra on March 9 where they overcame barrier 15 of 15.
“This was only his 12th start, he’s won nine and the last seven in succession,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes told the Courier Mail on the weekend.
“It takes a very good horse to do what he is doing.
“[He is a] potential superstar.”
On the weekend the galloper, now undefeated in over 12 months, was ridden brilliantly by James McDonald who guided them to a three length victory over Weary.
McDonald however won’t be staying on for Messene’s next major assignment, the top Kiwi expat unable to make the advantageous light weight allocation Messene has for the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in a few weeks.
Messene’s Ajax Stakes victory not only saw them gain an automatic entry into this year’s Doncaster Mile field, it also ensured they would escape a penalty.
They are currently allocated just 50kg for the Doncaster, a massive 4.5kg less than their Ajax Stakes winning weight.
While McDonald won’t be able to get down to that, Team Hawkes is confident they won’t have any issues finding a replacement hoop on their fast improving star.
“They will be chopping legs off to ride him,” Hawkes said. “It is too light for James to get down to but anything can happen in the next three weeks.
“The weights for the Doncaster might have to be raised [if 58kg top weight It’s A Dundeel doesn’t accept] so we will just wait and see.
“I don’t’ think we will have a problem finding a rider.”
Before their weekend win Messene sat around $13 in the Doncaster Mile futures odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
That price has since been slashed dramatically however, the up-and-comer now sitting top of the markets as the $5 favourite.
They’ve leap frogged Guy Walter’s champion mare Appearance, now at $6.50, who was last seen winning the Canterbury Stakes over 1300m at Randwick on March 15.
Messene meanwhile is already proven over the mile having won both their 1600m starts, including one at Randwick, in April of last year.
While Messene’s Doncaster dream is on track, Team Hawkes suffered a blow with young gun Not Listeninto’me ruled out of the autumn due to a virus.
Early TJ Smith Stakes favourite, and also a shortie in the Doncaster markets, the ace three-year-old was found to be ill on Sunday and will be rested now with the aim of a spring return.
The other early favourites to take out the Doncaster Mile this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival are then Randwick Guineas runner-up El Roca ($11), Walter’s Bernardini four-year-old Toydini ($12) and the Chris Waller-trained Catkins ($12) who ran third as the beaten favourite behind Steps In Time in the Coolmore Classic over the weekend.
To check out the full pre-field Doncaster Mile 2014 odds and lock in generous early prices on your favourites make sure you head over to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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