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New stable acquisition Keep Cool has pleased Joe Pride with his second in a Warwick Farm barrier trial but he admits he is asking him to take a big step in the Hawkesbury Cup.

Formerly trained by Danny O’Brien in Melbourne, the Nick Moraitis-owned gelding has mixed his form down south and Pride says it is hard to get a line on him.

He is one of 15 entries for the Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m), one of three Group Three races on Saturday at the track on Sydney outskirts.

“I was pleased with his trial and he will go to the Hawkesbury Cup,” Pride said.

“I’m not sure how he lines up against the others. It’s new to me and him.”

Keep Cool has won eight of his 42 starts and been placed on 14 other occasions.

He ran second to Letchworth in an 800m trial at Warwick Farm on Monday.

Queen’s Elect will also have her first start for Pride when she runs in the Darley Crown (1300m) as she tries to recapture the form which brought a Group Three placing in the Toy show Quality last August.

She has had two trials since joining Pride from the David Payne stable.

Autumn carnival Group winners Avoid Lightning and Cosmic Endeavour head the 19 entries for the fillies and mares feature.

The Les Bridge-trained Avoid Lightning won the Group Three Birthday Card (1200m) before running second in the Group Two Sapphire Stakes to Cosmic Endeavour from the Gai Waterhouse stable.

Pride said he was uncertain whether sprinter Earnest Ernest would take his place in the $125,000 Hawkesbury Rush (1100m) or be saved for a race at Rosehill the following week.

The trainer is also monitoring the progress of Coolmore Classic winner Steps In Time who will head to Brisbane for the Group One Tatt’s Tiara after missing Saturday’s All Aged Stakes with a bruised hoof.

“She will have two weeks off,” Pride said.

“The Tatt’s Tiara is seven weeks away so that gives us time to get her ready. SHe will have a barrier trial and go there for her final race.”

 
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