Corey Brown hopes a faster tempo will help Irukandji back up stallion Dundeel’s first stakes win with a maiden Group One victory in the Champagne Stakes.
The dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey got Irukandji home the hard way in the Group Three Schweppervescence (1400m) at Rosehill last month after the precocious juvenile effectively made two runs in the race.
Fortunately for Brown and Hawkes Racing, he was able to relax Irukandji when it mattered most and conserve enough energy for the two-year-old to finish strongly.
“He made two runs in the race and when young horses do that they normally can’t overcome that,” Brown said.
“They were going so slow I elected to charge forward on him and once you set them alight they generally keep running with it.
“He won himself the race even after I revved him up to get across from an awkward gate.”
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes agreed Brown’s ride wasn’t ideal though the rider did redeem himself.
“Corey didn’t panic even though he made two runs on him, he finally got to the outside and the horse really dug deep,” he said.
“He got him to relax, that’s what got him home.”
Brown wants more speed over 1600 metres and although Irukandji faces a step up in class he is confident the colt, a $10 chance with the TAB on Friday, can challenge stablemate Outrageous, the $5 favourite.
“It’d be nice to get a soft run on him and give him a bit more of a breather in the first half of the race,” Brown said.
Hawkes is confident Outrageous can justify his favouritism after a luckless third in the Group One Sires’ Produce Stakes on April 7.
“It was a super run. He just got held up all the way up the straight. He got in behind Oohood got checked and couldn’t get out,” he said.
“He’s got a soft draw, will be up on the speed and just needs a bit of luck.”
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings is also looking for a luckier run from Encryption, sixth in the Sires’ Produce.
“He had to use him up a fair bit from his wide barrier and he needed a week to get over that run,” he said.
“The sort of work he’s shown me early this week has been very strong and I think stepping up to 1600 for the first time provides him with a very interesting challenge.”
The Mick Price-trained Seabrook was the $6 equal second elect on Friday alongside the Ciaron Maher-trained Not A Single Cent, a half brother to triple Group One winner Happy Clapper.