The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Hawkes Racing-trained Toronado five-year-old celebrated his second win from three runs this prep improving on a last start fifth to Eduardo in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) to claim the lucrative Group 2 $500,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) thanks to a lovely ride from Tommy Berry.
Berry came back aboard the horse third-up after Jye McNeil rode Masked Crusader fresh to win the Group 3 The Heath 1100 at Caulfield and Joshua Parr was in the saddle for The Shorts.
After missing the kick, Berry rode the sprinter stone cold last at the tail end of the field as Adelong and Rothfire raced up on the speed setting a strong pace on the Good (4) track.
Cutting the corner, Masked Crusader got held up on the straight and Berry had to switch courses before the gap opened up at just the right time and the galloper let down well to finish strongly.
He ran down the impressive Standout who got out to a late lead up the inside and nearly stole the show in an improved effort from the former Group 2 winner before holding for second.
In third rounding out Premiere Stakes trifecta was the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained roughie Embracer who came off back-to-back seconds in good company including in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) on September 11.
Proving himself a worthy The Everest contender, Masked Crusader will run for Max Whitby and Neil Werrett in the world’s richest turf race back at Randwick on October 16.
While happy with the horse’s effort in the Premiere Stakes, Berry said that his racing style would mean he would need luck to win The Everest.
“He hasn’t had the best of luck this horse…he still didn’t muster speed,” Berry told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He sprinted very well though and he’s got improvement this guy, he had a good blow upon pulling up.
“I think the Hawkes’ are doing what they do, making sure he’s ready on the big day.
“He’s no Chautauqua this guy, but he’s a very good horse.
“He’s definitely going to need luck with the way he races.”
The Premiere Stakes produced last year’s The Everest winner Classique Legend (2nd), while the odds on Masked Crusader to do the double have been slashed into $5 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Click here for the latest 2021 The Everest betting markets.
2021 Premiere Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||MASKED CRUSADER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||2||58.5kg||$2.50F|
|2||6||STANDOUT||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Kerrin McEvoy||0.43L||1||58.5kg||$21|
|3||8||EMBRACER||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Regan Bayliss||1.26L||8||58.5kg||$21|
|4||7||LOST AND RUNNING (NZ)||John O’Shea||Hugh Bowman||1.44L||6||58.5kg||$6.50|
|5||3||I AM SUPERMAN (IRE)||Peter & Paul Snowden||James McDonald||2.04L||4||58.5kg||$11|
|6||4||JONKER||Tony Gollan||Nash Rawiller||3.27L||3||58.5kg||$11|
|7||5||ROTHFIRE||Robert Heathcote||Tim Clark||3.98L||7||58.5kg||$3.40|
|8||9||ADELONG||Brad Widdup||Glen Boss||4.16L||5||56.5kg||$41|
|2||SPLINTEX||Mark Newnham||Joshua Parr||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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