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Image: Steve Hart
Hawkesbury Guineas winner Schwarz is being aimed at Queensland's showpiece race

Three-year-old Schwarz has taken a crucial step towards his Stradbroke Handicap goal, stamping his class at Hawkesbury’s stand-alone meeting with a convincing Guineas triumph.

As his main danger and expected leader Butch Cassidy ($3.70) bungled the start, Schwarz ($2.40 betting fav) bounded out of the gates and straight to the front and that’s where he stayed.

The John O’Shea-trained colt gave nothing else a chance, dictating terms to score by 1-3/4 lengths over Bojangles ($16) with Mchale ($15) third.

O’Shea confirmed Schwarz would now head north for the Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 1, a race O’Shea expected he needed to all but win to secure his spot in the field for the $3 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) two weeks later.

“We’re right where we always wanted to be, which is in the Stradbroke in about a month’s time,” O’Shea said.

“He will go to the Fred Best now….and then hopefully make his way into the Stradbroke field.”

A son of top stallion Zoustar, Schwarz gave a portent of things to come with a Listed win at just his third start last spring.

Saturday’s Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) victory followed his first-up placing behind Brave Mead in the Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) and a luckless sixth to Joliestar in the Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m).

James Mcdonald has ridden the three-year-old in five of his six starts, including the Guineas, and says the colt is a star on the rise.

“He is maturing all the time,” McDonald said.

“He’s a beautiful colt, he’s got the best action. He really glides across the ground and once he got in that position (leading), he was always going to be very, very hard to beat.

“He’s got a great turn of foot and a high cruising speed, so he’s got a lot going for him.”

Schwarz had been a $26 chance in Stradbroke Handicap markets prior to Saturday and firmed into $11 following his Guineas success.

 
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