By Brad Gray
It took Kingsguard longer than expected to break through for his maiden victory but before you know it, he is chasing three straight.
The ex-New Zealand galloper boasted form around Xtravagant, Mackintosh and Provocative when he first arrived for Team Hawkes and after three near misses in his first Australian campaign, he has now won two on the trot since blinkers were applied. Confidence does amazing things for horses.
“Yeah it does,” concurred co-trainer Michael Hawkes.
“That’s a couple of good wins now. He has taken great benefit from them and it’s a nice race for him again.
“He has no weight and is going great guns. We’re very happy with him.”
Kingsguard winning in dominant fashion last start over the Warwick Farm mile
The stable look to have a strong hand at the meeting with Redouble a firm early favourite in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1400m) after running second to Raiment at Canterbury on a heavy track.
“It was a good run first-up, he hit the line nicely. He’s improved since and going well.
“The wet track didn’t overly suit him but it’s a nice race for him second-up.”
The three-year-old colt has displayed plenty of versatility in his four starts, showing he is capable of settling on top of the speed or camping off his rivals. However, his assignment has been made a touch tricky in drawing widest in the field of eight.
“We’ll leave it up to Christian. He can jump and be wherever he needs to be. He can be anywhere. Forwards. Back. In or out. There’s no set rules.”
Redoute's Choice colt Redouble running second first-up
Two-year-old Radiant Choice, a half-brother to Kaepernick, also steps out for Team Hawkes after a sound fourth on debut behind Madeenaty and Single Bullet in the Wyong Magic Millions.
It promises to be a lucrative spring for the stable courtesy of Chautuaqua, Divine Prophet and Star Turn, with the latter making recent headlines after Vinery Stud won the race to stand the colt once he retires.
“He’s in pre-training and not far away. Everything is good with him.”