Forced out of racing for close to eighteen months after a string of unfortunate injuries, trainer Joe Pride has revealed he is expecting Group 1 winner Laser Hawk to take up the pace early in this weekend’s Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Losing a plate and beating only a single runner home during the running of the 2013 edition of the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in his final appearance on course prior to injury, Laser Hawk returned to the races for eighth in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) on August 9th.
While again only beating a single runner home on the occasion, Pride said he was pleased with the Artie Schiller gelding’s first-up performance after such a long time away from racing, and is expecting jockey Tim Clark to lead the six-year-old to the lead on Saturday.
“It was a good effort for so long away from the race track,” Pride told Racing Ahead.
“It is always hard, they are going to be ring rusty and he had the three trials, but nothing prepares you for a race.
“The other notable thing there is that he had never run in a race shorter than 1400 metres, so the run was full of merit.
“He has had another trial since, we avoided the wet track in the Warwick Stakes, and if he gets in a good to slow surface I think that he can run a very cheeky race.
“I would say that he would nearly lead this field.
“He is probably a run or two away and he is building into this.
“I see this as a nice stepping stone for him.”
Securing a commendable total of four wins and three minor places from just ten competitive race starts so far, Laser Hawk began his racing tenure under the guidance of trainer Gai Waterhouse before transferring to the care of Pride after his injury.
Undoubtedly hitting career-best form through the 2012 Autumn Carnival, Laser Hawk finished third in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) before charging home to win the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) just two weeks later; returning to the paddock after finishing third in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
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