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The usually measured Michael Hawkes was searching for superlatives to describe Messene after he rocketed into Doncaster Mile calculations with his Ajax Stakes victory at Rosehill on Saturday.

In an arrogant display, the well-backed $2.80 favourite stalked the leader Ecuador, ranged up at the top of the straight and from that point was in a race of his own.

Messene - Photo by Steve Hart

Messene - Photo by Steve Hart

He scored by 2-3/4 lengths from the fast-finishing Weary ($9) with Malavio ($11) another length away.

“What he’s doing is ridiculous. It’s frightening really,” Hawkes said.

“Today was his biggest, most acid test and he had to stand up and be counted.

“James (McDonald) got him into a beautiful rhythm. At top of the straight he was always going to win it was just a matter of how far.

“You’ve got to give the horse credit. He’s a racehorse, he wants to put in and he’s a superstar.”

His victory in Saturday’s Group Two race has assured Messene of a Doncaster start.

Hawkes was unsure if the five-year-old would have a final lead-up in the Doncaster Prelude a week before the April 12 showpiece, or go straight into the $3 million race in which the stable will also start Ninth Legion.

Messene’s Ajax win took his record to nine victories from 12 starts and Hawkes said he was a good advertisement for the benefit of patience.

The gelding’s Doncaster quote has tightened from $15 to $8 with the stable happy to wait to confirm a jockey.

Messene has 50kg but handicaps could be raised if the topweights don’t run.

 
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