Messene eased the frustration of two agonising Black Opal day defeats for Hawkes Racing by staying on course for a Doncaster Mile with his win at Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park.
With his stablemates Agent and Lorna May narrowly beaten in the Camarena Sprint and Canberra Guineas respectively, it was left to the promising Messene to provide some joy for the two-state family training operation.
Forced to overcome a wide barrier, Messene made his own luck under jockey James McDonald to win the Listed National Sprint (1400m).
McDonald sent the shortest-priced favourite of the day towards the lead and Messene did the rest, holding on to win by a long head.
It turned out to be the case of the ex-boss beating one of his most loyal workers with John Hawkes playing an integral part in Messene’s preparation and the runner-up being trained by Peter Snowden.
As head trainer and stable foreman respectively, Hawkes and Snowden guided the Ingham brothers’ racing empire through heady times from the early 1990s until 2007.
“We’ve got high hopes of trying to get him to the Doncaster,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said.
“That was his first stakes win today so hopefully he can get his rating up.”
Messene has won eight of his 11 starts and is well-found in Doncaster Mile betting as a $15 chance despite his precarious order-of-entry status.
One of the biggest supporters of racing in the nation’s capital had reason to celebrate after Jacquinot Bay scored a determined win in the Canberra Cup.
Guy Walter again demonstrated he is a master trainer of middle distance and staying horses as Jacquinot Bay ($6) shaded Honourable Aussie ($21) in the $200,000 race.
Warwick Farm-based Walter has a satellite stable at nearby Goulburn but Jacquinot Bay was racing at Canberra for the first time in a career that has so far produced eight wins in 18 starts.