While beating just a single runner home in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) first-up at Royal Randwick on Saturday, trainer Joseph Pride was pleased with the racing return of Group 1 champion Laser Hawk, and while believing he is capable of returning to Group 1 form, is eyeing the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) on October 4th as the likely major target this time in.
Steadily building to the task over three starts at the beginning of the 2013 autumn carnival, Laser Hawk was forced to spend nearly eighteen months in the spelling paddock after suffering a serious tendon injury during the running of the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Having registered a clear desire to race over 2000m in all previous preparations, Pride told Racing Ahead he is confident of a return to form through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival for Laser Hawk, however will not rush the six-year-old into anything.
“We were really pleased,” Pride said.
“He had over 400 days between runs and never run in a race below 1400 metres, so he was up against it yesterday and it wasn’t a race that was going to suit him, but I thought his beaten margin and the way he stretched out in the run to the line was very encouraging.
“If he stands up he is a Group 1 horse.
“I don’t think anything is beyond him, but I am just going to take him along slowly.
“It may be a case this preparation of him not being able to get back to his peak, coming off such a long spell, but we will measure that along the way.
“A Craven Plate or something could be it this preparation, but he might go better that that.
“In the autumn I think it will be when we see him back to his best.”
Securing an impressive total of four wins and three minor places from just 10 competitive starts, Laser Hawk will be aiming to return to his 2012 autumn form, which delivered two third places in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) most notably.
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