Nominating two of his stable’s stars for a return to racing in this weekend’s featured Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick, trainer Joseph Pride has revealed he is only likely to accept a position in the final field for six-year-old Laser Hawk, favouring the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) in Melbourne for fellow Group 1 champion Tiger Tees.
Unable to string together much of a competitive run of form over just three starts through autumn, Pride said he has been pleased with the continually rising form of Laser Hawk since returning to work in June, and is confident of a successful first-up tilt in the Missile Stakes despite its short distance.
“This horse has never acted below 1400 in his career and the Missile Stakes is his kick-off point,” Pride told The Daily Telegraph.
“But I’ve been really happy with him; he will run a race for sure.”
A notable performer over six starts through autumn and early winter, Tiger Tees won the Listed Falvelon (1200m) first-up on February 22nd, and while appearing to be a step behind when ninth in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on March 15th, responded in the best way possible when breaking through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) a fortnight later.
Including the seven-year-old in nominations for both Sydney and Melbourne events this weekend, Pride said the Aurie’s Star Handicap poses a far-better launch pad for Tigers Tees this time in.
“Tiger Tees almost certainly won’t run in Sydney,” Pride said.
“I think it is a pointless exercise even accepting with him. I’ll talk it over with his owners but we will accept for Melbourne and have a look at that race.
“The horse seems good, we just have to find the right surface for him. If we do decide to run in Melbourne, he can leave tomorrow night (Wednesday).”
Securing an impressive total of four wins and three minor places from just nine competitive race starts so far, Laser Hawk was a standout performer over the 2013 racing season; claiming minor places in both the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and breaking through for a maiden Group 1 triumph in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
With barrier for the feature race yet to be confirmed, Laser Hawk is more than a chance of success should he be allocated a favourable alley for the 2014 Missile Stakes.
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