There’s an important factor helping Hauraki’s bid for a Group One win – the absence of Australian racing’s best horse.
Hauraki has finished third to Winx at both his starts this campaign and while the Cox Plate winner will start odds-on in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday, the Godolphin galloper steps up to a middle distance in the Ranvet Stakes on a star-studded card of racing.
That fact isn’t lost on Godolphin trainer John O’Shea, who says signs are good for Hauraki as he gets out to 2000m.
“His two runs this preparation have been very encouraging and after he worked at Warwick Farm on Tuesday James (McDonald) said he’d never felt better,” O’Shea said.
“And there’s no Winx to beat this week.”
Hauraki’s last win came almost a year ago came at the same track and distance in the Group Two Tulloch Stakes.
He then finished second in the Australian Derby before being gelded.
“We decided to geld him after last autumn and he didn’t really do that well during the winter,” O’Shea said.
“His spring was pretty good and he’s had a good summer and he’s showing the benefit of it.”
While Winx won’t be there, Mongolian Khan will be.
The New Zealand galloper stood in the way of Hauraki’s Derby success, before winning last year’s Caulfield Cup, a race in which O’Shea’s horse finished unplaced.
Among the other main hopes for the Ranvet is the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained star Criterion ($5), who will be looking to turn around a poor first-up showing.
Criterion’s stablemate Dibayani ($4.20) is second favourite to Hauraki at $3.80, while The United States and Chris Waller-trained import Storm The Stars are on the next two lines of betting.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au