A standout performer over the 2014 Autumn Carnival, co-trainer Michael Hawkes is confident talented sprinter Messene has the class and form to win the featured Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick this weekend, despite being yet to race under weight-for-age conditions.
Winning both the Listed John McGrath National Sprint (1400m) and Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) in succession at the beginning of his autumn preparation, it was Messene’s run for seventh in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) which truly stamped his quality, according to Hawkes.
“I know he had that long winning streak but when he ran seventh in the Doncaster Mile, it was probably his best performance,” Hawkes told The Daily Telegraph.
“He didn’t handle the heavy track at all but still ran a great race.
“Corey Brown got off Messene after the Doncaster and said ‘wow, what a super horse’.”
Allocated the ideal inside barrier for the 2014 Missile Stakes, Hawkes has been thrilled with the way the Lonhro gelding has taken to work in the lead-up to his racing return and is confident in a polished first-up showing.
“Messene is obviously going to the next grade up, weight-for-age racing,” Hawkes said.
“He’s drawn the gun barrier and puts himself into a race and that is a big advantage.
“He still has to do it at weight-for-age and this will be a good test for the horse, but we are happy with how he is coming up for the spring.
“He’s done everything right, his trials have been super and he looks outstanding.
“He’s forward enough to run a big race and he is really on to keep an eye on this season.”
Confirmed to be partnered by newly-crown Sydney Premiership winning jockey James McDonald, Messene is currently available at generous odds of $4 for success in the 2014 Missile Stakes; featuring as sole occupant of the third line of betting with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early odds on all races at Randwick this weekend, including the Missile Stakes!