A team of young, talented horses delivered Sydney autumn carnival success for Hawkes Racing and they will rely on a trio with a similar profile to continue the stable’s momentum at Hawkesbury.
The training partnership had a memorable autumn in Sydney, highlighted by Mossfun’s Golden Slipper victory.
The stable will be well represented at Saturday’s Hawkesbury meeting with runners in each of the three stakes races headed by Leebaz in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m).
Chautauqua will fly the flag in the Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) with Chatham House to start in the Darley Crown (1300m).
Like the horses Hawkes Racing enjoyed success with during the Sydney carnival, the trio are all up-and-coming types who have been guided patiently and methodically.
Leebaz scored back-to-back wins at his first two starts this campaign and it took subsequent Doncaster Mile placegetter Weary to run him down at his first stakes test last start.
“He should have won that day, he just went out too hard and wanted to get going and get rolling,” Hawkes said.
Leebaz has won five of his eight starts and Hawkes said the horse had bounced back well from his Prelude run.
He has been given almost a month to get over it and Hawkes is hopeful he can post his first Group victory at Hawkesbury.
“He’s done super since. He’s drawn fair (in nine) but he’s an on-speed runner anyway so he’ll jump and roll forward,” Hawkes said.
Chautauqua’s has the outside barrier in the field of 16 and Hawkes admits the son of former good racemare Lovely Jubly will need luck.
He wasn’t disgraced in Group Two grade last start when he got a long way back and was beaten less than four lengths by Sidestep.
Hawkes expects Chatham House to appreciate a distance and weight drop in the Darley Crown but weight of numbers favours rival trainer Peter Snowden who has won the feature three times in the past four years.
The meeting will be Snowden’s last as head trainer for Darley before he joins son Paul in a training partnership.