In a major surprise, Hawkes Racing will back up Sooboog in the Roman Consul Stakes just three days after his midweek win at Rosehill.
The three-year-old was among the favourites for Wednesday’s Cellarbrations Hcp (1100m) and ran true to form, streaking to victory over Eminent Duke and the unfancied Il Mio Destino.
Godolphin’s pre-race favourite Accuse ($3.60) finished eighth.
Second to Vancouver in last year’s Breeders’ Plate, Sooboog disappointed at his only other start as a two-year-old and had everything go against him when he missed a place first-up at Gosford.
But successive city wins have earned the son of Snitzel a quick step up to Group Two racing in a move co-trainer Michael Hawkes admits is unorthodox for a stable which is renowned for its patient approach.
“It’s unlike Team Hawkes,” he said.
“But we always thought about the Roman Consul there. He’s done super and the horse looked a picture in the yard.
“He’s drawn barrier one, so as long as he pulls up fine he’ll be there Saturday.”
Hawkes was quick to credit jockey Tommy Berry for a measured ride.
“Tommy rode him patiently and that’s the last thing I said to him – keep him relaxed and let him do it all for you,” Hawkes said.
Meanwhile, the Goulburn-based Kurt Goldman will take Hellbent to the Brian Crowley Stakes after the colt’s first-up win in the Ranvet Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday.
Hellbent led from start to finish at Rosehill and jockey Blake Shinn, who also won aboard Rockolicious, said the three-year-old’s winter spell in Queensland had done a world of good.
“He’s come back a much more furnished horse,” Shinn said.
“He relaxed beautifully and when I asked him for an effort he really accelerated nicely.”
A win for trainer Bede Murray wrapped up the day’s action as Sure And Fast ran on to beat pre-race favourite Holler in the More Than Ready At Vinery Handicap (1200m).
“I didn’t want to be too cocky but I really thought he could win,” Murray said.
“I think he can step up to better races, but whether he does it this preparation or we leave it for later on in the year, I’m not sure yet.”