Improving northern hemisphere five-year-old Haky will head to Australia for the 2019 Melbourne Spring Carnival after finishing second in Sunday’s €80,000 (A$130,000) G3 Prix Gladiateur (3100m) at Paris Longchamp.
The OTI Racing-owned Haky attempted to lead throughout in the Prix Gladiateur, in accordance with his usual racing style under Ronan Thomas, and through the middle stages held a six-length advantage on the chasing pack.
Last year’s Prix Gladiateur winner Called to the Bar ($1.50 favourite) quickly wittled away Haky’s advantage upon straightening and wasn’t punished by rider Maxime Guyon to score by two lengths. Haky ($6.10) stayed on at the one-pace to comfortably secure second, a further two lengths ahead of the third-placed Boulevard ($4.90).
“He is running well and the winner (Called to the Bar) is a good horse,” Hammond told Jour de Galop.
“Haky will now head to Australia, I do not know yet what he will run there. He could go to the Caulfield Cup, provided he can enter the race.
“Otherwise, there are other options, like the Geelong Cup before the Melbourne Cup.”
Connections of Haky now eagerly await the release of Melbourne Cup weights on Tuesday from Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter to understand the task ahead to gain entry into the Cup field.
Haky had his first attempt in stakes company two runs ago and was third behind last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo and Call The Wind in the G2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville on August 18 before again placing in the Prix Gladiateur.
Called to the Bar is expected to be prepared for the €350,000 (A$560,000) G1 Prix Royal-Oak (3100m) at Chantilly on October 27, a race he finished second in last season, instead of clashing with defending champion Call The Wind in the €300,000 (A$480,000) G1 Prix du Cadran (4000m) at ParisLongchamp on October 5.