By Ray Hickson
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes has doubt Dissolution is capable of achieving the rare feat of breaking his maiden in a Group 1 race at Randwick on Saturday.
The colt, runner-up in last Saturday’s Dulcify Quality, is striving to be the first maiden to win the Group 1 $500,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) since Viking Ruler in 2001.
Hawkes said the stable had no qualms about backing Dissolution up after he came through his close second to Ataraxia in fine fettle.
“It isn’t every day you get a chance to run in a race like this even though he’s still a maiden,’’ Hawkes said.
“He’ll appreciate the 2000m and he definitely has the ability to be there.
“It’s probably a matter of what horse stays the best. He hit the line well the other day and they ran a race record, another couple of strides it might have been a different story.’’
Hawkes has called on Hong Kong based Sydney jockey Sam Clipperton ride all three of the stable’s Randwick runners on Saturday – Dissolution, Chauffeur and Firsthand.
“Sometimes you’ve got to think outside the square and the owners all agreed,’’ Hawkes said.
“He’s flying over there, he’s ridden for us before and knows how we like our horses ridden.’’
A debut victory is the only win on Chauffeur’s CV to date but Hawkes is confident, with a bit of luck, the $1.6m colt is the dark horse in the Group 2 $300,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m).
Chauffeur was also accepted at Flemington but the decision was made to drop him to the shorter trip after running sixth in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) last start.
“He’s been knocking on the door and we’re trying to place him in a race he can win,’’ Hawkes said.
“It’s a competitive race but his run in the Golden Rose was excellent.
“His first-up run was outstanding, if you swap the spots with Pariah he is probably winning. Second-up he should have run right behind them and he got smashed in the Golden Rose so, unfortunately, he’s had things go wrong in his last couple of starts.
“’Those races are high pressure and you can’t afford for anything to go wrong. This isn’t as high pressure but it’s a nice race for him.’’
Firsthand returns from a break in the Metropolitan Civil Contractors Handicap (1200m) just four days after contesting a barrier trial.
Hawkes said that strategy has worked for the stable before – most notably with Mossfun winning the Golden Slipper – and Firsthand bounced through the trial well.
The five-year-old has won four from eight and was a last start winner at Rosehill in June.
“It’s either go out and gallop or have a nice easy trial and he wasn’t under too much pressure,’’ Hawkes said.
“People read into it a lot of different ways but it was the way the trials fell and it suited him at the time.
“The barrier is probably a little bit awkward but he’s a nice horse going forward. He’s taken a little time but he’s always shown ability and is forward enough to run well.