Lindsay Park’s hopes of landing the Australian Guineas in three weeks have skyrocketed following the stunning debut for the stable of Hawkshot in Saturday’s Group 2 Autumn Stakes at Caulfield.
The former Darren Weir-trained horse firmed from $26 to $8 for the Group 1 classic next month after spacing his rivals following a bold front-running ride from Mark Zahra.
Co-trainer Ben Hayes said Hawkshot would fit in well with their Guineas team, which includes Mickey Blue Eyes, Good ‘N’ Fast and More Sundays, who was scratched from the Autumn Stakes to run next week instead.
“Mark knew the horse very well and let the horse roll to the front and he dictated and kicked away on the corner and couldn’t have been more impressive,” Hayes said.
“He’s only been at our yard since Monday, he came to us looking a million dollars and I’ve got to thank Sun Stud for choosing to give us the horse as he looks like an Australian Guineas horse.”
Hawkshot was sent out a $6.50 chance and had nearly four lengths up his sleeve on the line over Dealmaker ($6.50), with a length to Ringerdingding ($4.60), who finished on fairly for third in his first-up run.
Zahra said Hawkshot was a work in progress but had the talent to win a good race.
“He used to be trained by Weiry and we spent four runs riding him quiet and I think it was that early prep in getting him to settle that did the trick and today we took him straight to the front, got him to relax and he was never going to lose,” the jockey said.
“It was good to see him relax today in front and the mile will be no issue.”
Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock won two earlier races on the card with Yogi and Crack The Code but Social Spin could not make it three in the Autumn Stakes despite being the well-backed $3.20 favourite.
“Overall, it was a little disappointing,” Dance said, “Ben (Melham) said he was slow away but mustered into a good spot and then travelled well around the bend and looked as though he was going to be right in the finish but probably his last 200 was just a touch plain.
“He may be better suited at Flemington. At this stage we’ll keep an open mind (about the Guineas).