The Group One Epsom Handicap is on the Team Hawkes radar after Wild Planet bounced back from a luckless first up run to claim the Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes admitted to a few anxious moments turning for home before Tommy Berry got Wild Planet into the clear.
The honest gelding chased hard to wear down favourite Funstar by a long neck with Ranier another length in arrears.
“There was a little bit of deja vu there when he got locked up coming around the corner,” Hawkes said.
“You’ve got to give this horse credit, he really fights hard.
“He’s in the Epsom and that’s the way we’re heading with him at this stage.”
Wild Planet’s win was a bright spot for Team Hawkes in Sydney after odds-on favourite Masked Crusader endured a tough run when third to Fituese in the Vale Rick Worthington Handicap.
They also had the settle for the minor placings in The Run To The Rose with Ole Kirk and North Pacific finishing behind Queesland gun Rothfire.
However, the stable ended the day with a two-state feature race double when Doubtland won the Danehill Stakes at Flemington.
Chris Waller was satisfied with the effort of Funstar after she was caught wide early and said she would be spot-on for the 2020 Epsom Handicap next month.
“She didn’t have the perfect run. She was three-wide without cover and she was left wanting the last 100 and she will improve significantly with the run,” Waller said.
“She would be close to our top seed in the Epsom Handicap.”