Hall Of Fame trainer John Hawkes knows the $20 million colt All Too Hard is in for a heart tester in Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
Black Caviar’s little brother bids farewell to Australian racing and a fourth group 1 awaits and so does the mighty More Joyous.
“She is a champion mare, no hack, and she wont be easy to beat but our horse is ready to return,” Hawkes, who trains in tandem with sons Michael and Wayne, said on Friday.
Having slayed last season’s champion juvenile Pierro in the Caulfield Guineas last spring All To Hard finished second in the Cox Plate before spelling.
The strapping colt returned to trounce older rivals at weight-for-age in the Orr Stakes and Futurity before a virus struck on the morning of the Australian Guineas.
“His blood wasn’t right and we couldn’t run him, wouldn’t do it to any horse in the stable,” Hawkes said.
“He is no different to any other horse in the stable and we just had to wait, get it [virus] out of the system.”
While the autumn carnival rolled on All Too Hard was holed up in the Hawkes’ team’s Flemington stable before returning to their Rosehill complex.
“He is a really good horse, really good, can’t do much more than he has done,” Hawkes said.
“He is up with the best of them but he had to race on next season to really prove himself but unfortunately it is not the case.
“He is a super colt and we know why he will be heading to stud next season.”
Having trained champions like Lonhro, Octagonal and a host of others Hawkes knows what is required to make a top liner.
“He has a good temperament, he is a good doer in the stable,” Hawkes said.
“Real athletes are born and you have to mould them, like footballers, cricketers, it is about moulding them.
“There is a bit of an art to it, we’ve been lucky enough to make a few but it is a lot of hard work and you never stop learning, when they bury you, you stop learning.”
As for toppling More Joyous and co Hawkes said “it makes it harder coming off a set back” but “he has done well in the stable and on the track”.
In the Sydney Cup Hawkes starts last year’s winner Niwot and the Melbourne Cup runner-up Maluckyday. Both stayers have overcome life threatening injuries.
“Three vets said Niwot would never race again and he has done a remarkable job,” Hawkes said.
“He has been a marvellous horse for the owners, they have been patient, stuck with him and have been rewarded.”
After finishing second to Americain in the 2010 Melbourne Cup Maluckyday contracted pneumonia and was lucky to survive.
“Unfortunately he’ll never be what he should have been,” Hawkes said.
“It is the hand you’re dealt, it is what it is, he is lucky to be racing. He keeps fronting up and while he is enjoying the work, the racing, he’ll keep going.
“We have two chances in the Sydney Cup, Niwot is a two mile winner, Maluckyday can run two miles, others may not, it puts them in with a good chance.
“Kelinni won well under the big weight last start and is the one to beat.”
By Craig Young