The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The countdown until the $15 million The Everest race in Sydney is well and truly on for the Hawkes Racing-trained Masked Crusader following a brilliant first-up win in Caulfield’s 2021 The Heath 1100 Stakes results.
One of the five sprinters already filling a slot in the 12-horse The Everest field at Randwick on October 16, star Toronado gelding Masked Crusader began his spring in Melbourne with a last-to-first success in the Group 3 $200,000 The Heath 1100 Stakes (1100m) on Memsie Stakes Day.
With COVID-19 restrictions and extended lockdowns in Sydney, the stable opted to bring Masked Crusader to Melbourne where he may stay right up until The Everest week according to co-trainer Wayne Hawkes.
Winner of the Group 1 William Reid Stakes at The Valley and runner-up to Nature Strip in Randwick’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes as part of an outstanding autumn campaign, Masked Crusader proved his class carrying 60kg to a three-quarter length win in The Heath.
After playing up in the barriers and missing the kick, everything that could go wrong did for the odds-on favourite.
Jockey Jye McNeil however didn’t panic, remaining patient and allowing Masked Crusader ($1.90) to get into stride before flying home from the back to run down all his rivals and hand his hoop a treble for the day.
The eventual winner was the widest on the home straight and was too good the final 100m, showing off a brilliant turn of foot to defeat the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Amish Boy ($8) along with Peter Moody’s third-placegetter Oxley Road ($8).
“He certainly had to do it the hard way,” Hawkes told Racing Victoria.
“He had to do a Chautauqua-type performance.
“We just wanted to see how he run today.”
Masked Crusader will represent slot holders Max Whitby and Neil Werrett, also a part owner in the horse, in this year’s The Everest.
It will be the fifth attempt for Whitby and Werrett in the world’s richest turf race following their previous mixed bag of results: Vega Magic (2nd in 2017), Graff (5th in 2018), Sunlight (10th in 2019) and Trekking (4th in 2020).
Masked Crusader has now firmed into $5 equal favouritism along with fellow slot holder Nature Strip (7th in the race last year) in The Everest 2021 odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au – available in full here.
2021 The Heath 1100 Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||MASKED CRUSADER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||10||60kg||$1.90F|
|2||6||AMISH BOY||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Dean Yendall||0.75L||1||57kg||$8|
|3||4||OXLEY ROAD||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1.75L||7||58.5kg||$8|
|4||11||KALKARNI ROYALE||Kevin Corstens||Brett Prebble||1.95L||6||55kg||$26|
|5||3||CROSSHAVEN||Ben & JD Hayes||Daniel Stackhouse||2.25L||4||58.5kg||$12|
|6||5||VIRIDINE||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||2.35L||5||58kg||$11|
|7||7||PREZADO||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||2.45L||11||57kg||$61|
|8||2||POLAND||Michael Moroney||Jordan Childs||2.55L||8||59kg||$21|
|9||8||SPACEBOY||Gary Portelli||Craig Newitt||3.55L||3||57kg||$13|
|10||10||NAVAL ENVOY||Danielle Loos||John Allen||8.05L||2||57kg||$101|
|11||9||YES BABY YES||Leon & Troy Corstens||Craig Williams||9.55L||9||57kg||$61|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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