Improving weather conditions and a healthy young colt have Loch Eagle’s trainer Kris Lees confident of a competitive showing in the $200,000 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) on Saturday.
The three-year-old has enjoyed an impressive preparation, including a maiden triumph over 1200m in Newcastle on March 4, followed by a victory in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 23.
The sprinter then stepped up last start and finished second in the $150,000 South Pacific Classic (1400m) on a Heavy 10 at Randwick on April 9.
This has put Lees in good spirits regarding the fortunes of his $6 winning chance with Ladbrokes ahead of the Group 3 event at Clarendon.
“I’m pleased since his last run,” Lees told horsebetting.com.au.
“He’s in good order. Three weeks (in between starts) probably suits off that heavy-track run.
“He got through it OK, but I prefer an improving track – around seven or eight would be ideal for him.”
Star Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman – who was aboard for both victories in March – will again pilot Loch Eagle from barrier 10 in the feature.
“He (Loch Eagle) just needs a bit of luck with what on paper looks like it might be a tricky draw,” Lees said.
“Mr Mozart’s favourite (for Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes) and he’d be third on the form line. But he’s continued to improve with each run.
“I thought he still ran well during his first go in Stakes company. He’ll be better suited (on Saturday).”
Despite not getting too carried away about his chances at Clarendon, Lees believes Loch Eagle – by the great Lonhro from Song Street – has a bright future.
“He looks like a horse with plenty of upside. This is only his second race preparation – he’s a bit raw,” he said.
“But I think we’ll see a better horse next time around.
“He (Bowman) suits the horse, no doubt.”
Like Loch Eagle, he’s happy with their form.
Wandabaa won the $160,000 Newcastle Newmarket at Newcastle on March 4, and Never Talk saluted in the $150,000 Provincial-Midway Championships Qualifier on March 17, also at Newcastle.
Both were over 1400m.
“Both are talented mares. They get back in their races, so things have to set up right for them to have their little bit of luck,” Lees said.
“But they handle soft ground and it looks like the tempo will suit them, so they’ll get their chances.”