The airborne Kelly Schweida-trained...
The Doncaster Mile 2017 campaign kick-off for the John O’Shea-trained Hauraki is scheduled for Royal Randwick in Saturday’s Canterbury Stakes.
A five-year-old son of Reset, Hauraki was last seen running a close second to Awesome Rock at Flemington in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) in November.
Off a smart Randwick trial over 1050m in mid-February, the gun galloper is set to resume racing on Randwick Guineas Day this weekend in the $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
It is shaping up as an intriguing edition of the race this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
A Heavy-rated track opens things up for any wet track performers, while the inclusion of former champion sprinter Chautauqua also adds another element.
Chautauqua leads the latest Canterbury Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $2.90 to win second-up in his first start over more than 1200m since April of 2015.
The five-time Group 1 winner looks like he’ll be strong despite the track conditions, but it is still a gamble by Hawkes Racing to step the dual TJ Smith Stakes winner up in distance this season.
Chautauqua was a late entry into the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and that Randwick feature on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’, Saturday April 1, is also the Grand Final aim for Hauraki.
Sitting at $11 in Canterbury Stakes betting for the weekend, the Godolphin-raced Hauraki has plenty of form at the Randwick track (11-3-3-2) including his Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) success last October.
Prior to that he was runner-up behind the world’s best mare Winx in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and he also placed second to Mongolian Khan in the 2015 ATC Derby over the mile and a half at Royal Randwick.
Hauraki won the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) first-up last preparation on a Heavy (8) course and will get similar going when he looks to add to his solid fresh record this weekend.
“He won first up last time at seven furlongs,” O’Shea told Racing NSW on Thursday.
“1300m is a little short of his best, but he’s effective in the ground.
“He’s going to take a couple of runs to hit his straps. Going into the Doncaster, third-up, that’s when he’ll really peak.”
Sure to improve over more distance, the mud Randwick track could turn the 1300m of the Canterbury Stakes into something more like a 1400m race and that will work in Hauraki’s favour.
O’Shea prepared last year’s Canterbury Stakes winner Holler (2016) who was ridden to victory by James McDonald.
McDonald also enjoyed the 2015 win aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained mare Cosmic Endeavour.
On Saturday O’Shea has engaged the services of hoop Blake Shinn who partners Hauraki for the first time under race conditions.
As for the upcoming Doncaster Mile Handicap, O’Shea will be chasing his third win in the classic after earlier wins with Private Steer (2004) and Racing To Win (2006).
Currently Hauraki sits at $11 occupying the second line of futures Doncaster Mile betting that has the progressive Chris Waller-trained filly Omei Sword ($8) as the all-in favourite.
Three-year-old Impending ($11) also lines-up for the stable in the Canterbury Stakes on Saturday off a sixth in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m).
To back Hauraki first-up for an upset Canterbury Stakes win and to check out the full Doncaster Mile 2017 futures odds visit Ladbrokes.com.au today!
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