Leebaz will get a third chance to win the Doomben Cup after completing a huge week for the Hawkes training team.
Leebaz ($31) made it back-to-back wins in the Gold Coast race on Saturday and passed $1 million in prize money when he beat the favourite Hauraki ($2.80) by a length in the Group Two Hollindale Stakes.
Kiwi galloper Volkstok’n’barrell ($12) finished strongly wide on the track to be third, 1-1/2 lengths back.
John Hawkes and his sons Michael and Wayne started their week with a win in the Claret Stakes at Hawkesbury with Swear.
That was followed by Chautauqua’s win in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong last Sunday.
And they were in the winners’ stall again on Friday when Messene won the Wagga Wagga Gold Cup.
Wayne Hawkes said Leebaz had been a model of consistency apart from a last-start 13th in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
“But there were excuses. They really hammered him in the lead. He ended up second last and the other leader ran last,” Hawkes said.
“At his previous start he won the Easter Cup at Caulfield and that was a better guide. He is a tough old gelding in form so he is here for the Doomben Cup in a fortnight.”
Hawkes said it wasn’t the greatest week for his family but it was close to it.
Gold Coast-based jockey Michael Cahill continued his good recent form with a perfect ride on Leebaz who was able to get a sit behind the pace.
The gelding ran second last in the 2015 Doomben Cup as second favourite after finishing runner-up to Streama in 2014.
James McDonald said Hauraki, who was also likely to press on to the Doomben Cup, had his chance but the winner was too strong.
Blake Shinn was impressed with Volkstok’nbarrell who came from well back in the field.
“His run just peaked but it was a good trial for the Doomben Cup. He will be fitter,” Shinn said.