It was the day of All Too Hard on Saturday when the colt stood up and was counted to win the $1m, Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
All Too Hard ends Pierro's unbeaten streak in the Caulfield Guineas, picture quentinjlang.com
All Too Hard, trained by the Hawkes’ stable for Patinack Farm, had not won since the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes over 1200m at Rosehill on March 31st. Since then the colt had put in a number of frustrating runs as well as developing the habit of leaving the barriers slowly.
On Saturday barrier attendants applied a barrier blanket as they do with his illustrious half-sister Black Caviar. The colt jumped without lagging behind and jockey Dwayne Dunn settling at the rear of the eight horse field and watched a tussle for the lead up front.
Ashokan and James McDonald won the race for the lead and Nash Rawiller on Pierro pressed forward from barrier seven to eventually settle in behind Ashokan. Passing the half way mark Ashokan was 1 1/2L ahead of Pierro with the rest of the field behind. Dunn had taken All Too Hard to the outside of the field content to run three wide.
Rawiller put the acid on with 400m to run and Pierro went away for a 2L lead as they flashed past the 300m. It looked like the unbeaten colt was going to continue his run.
Epaulette and Kerrin McEvoy gave chase, and Dunn pushed All To Hard forward. The Casino Prince colt had a target to chase, and speed in a race that allowed him to build into his stride.
Pierro had a good lead and he was being ridden hard by Rawiller, but then All Too Hard came just as hard and fast on the outside. All Too Hard went past with 50m to run and he then went away for a half-length win such was his momentum.
Dunn stood in the irons and saluted the lead with All Too Hard finally securing his place in the most important race of his short career.
Pierro (Lonhro) was well clear of Epaulette (Commands), the margin 1 3/4L and a further 4 1/2L away was Awesome Bro. Road Tripping was fifth, Ashokan sixth .
The time was 1.36.05 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 36.55. All Too Hard paid $12.90 on STAB.
The result was costly for punters with some large bets going astray. Some of the major bets on Pierro, the $1.20 favourite, included $100,000 @ $1.22, $100,000 @ $1.20, $30,000 @ $1.22, $20,000 @ $1.22.
It also caused TAB’s Fixed Odds market for the Cox Plate to be thrown wide open. All Too Hard’s price to win the Cox Plate has firmed from $51 to $10, while Pierro, $1.90 just before the Caulfield Guineas, has drifted to $2.80. More Joyous’ price has drifted out from $7.50 to $8 after her unplaced effort in the Toorak Handicap while Caulfield Stakes winner Ocean Park (NZ) firmed slightly from $6.50 into $6.
“If you watch the replay with 800m to go he was back last on the fence and that certainly wasn’t the place you wanted to be but he (Dunn) just got him out into clear running and let him keep coming,” said Wayne Hawkes.
“He is a serious horse, he always has been and as I said this morning, he’s was only getting beat two lengths behind Pierro, it wasn’t as if he was getting beaten by 22 lengths.
“It’s a pretty good effort to beat Pierro because he goes OK.
“He is probably the best I’ve touched in terms of being a trainer. (Father) John Hawkes has had a couple like Octagonal but this bloke is like Pierro’s dad Lonhro. He is in that class this horse.
“On Thursday morning I watched his work and I was just shaking my head because I was thinking it was just too easy. He does it too easy and he’s got so much ability.
“This is the race that makes stallions.
“He wanted to do it today, simple as that. A lot of people are going to read into the Melbourne thing because he has won three from three down here but I don’t think so.
“He is a colt, he jumped cleanly today with the barrier blanket on and he wanted to do it because it was a big, big run,” he said.
“Obviously I got asked early how good he was and I probably said he was one of the best I’ve ridden,” said Dunn.
“He let us down early in the campaign but he was here and he delivered today off a hot speed and gave me a chance to get into the race late.
“I just think he is a very young horse mentally and he takes everything in his stride and it was probably all happening a little bit too soon for him.”
“As John (Hawkes) said, we didn’t expect him to do what he did in those first few runs and that’s what really showed us how good he was.”
“This was always his Grand Final, the king pin race so where they go from here I don’t know.”
“John (Hawkes) was very adamant that if he jumped well we’ve got a race on our hands and if he doesn’t don’t try and make him do something because he is not really working with us at the moment.”
“Although he jumped better today there wasn’t much difference to his others (runs this campaign) but the tempo was so hot early that I couldn’t hold that (forward) spot,” he said.
“To win the Caulfield Guineas, that is a stallion making race. You could not ask for anything more than that,” said Peter Beer, Patinack Farm CEO.
“He got away reasonably well but he has run Pierro down fair and square,” he said.
All Too Hard, picture quentinjlang.com
All Too Hard, out of the Desert Sun mare Helsinge, has now won four races from eight starts and with two placings he has earned stakes of $1.05m and the invaluable win for his next career in the stallion barn.
What the jockeys said:
PIERRO 2ND, NASH RAWILLER – “I thought his run was massive. It took him a long time to get into stride early and he got into a lovely rhythm mid race. Full credit to the winner on the day.”
“He raced a touch dour, it took him a while to get into his rhythm early and that’s all I could do with him.”
“It took a good horse to run him down, I’ll say that.”
EPAULETTE 3RD, KERRIN MCEVOY – “It was a hectic race, it was the quickest run mile I think I’ve ridden in.”
“I had to keep pressing on and ended up in a nice spot but had to spend plenty of petrol in getting there .”
“In hindsight I might have ridden him a bit quieter and finished with the winner but my horse was run a good race considering it was his first time at the mile.”
AWESOME BRO 4TH, CRAIG WILLIAMS – “I think he’s done a great job just to run fourth.”
“I wanted to use my gate a little bit but I could feel there was just too much pressure for my horse so I came back and as it turned out there was one favourite up in front and I had the eventual winner behind me which didn’t bother me, I felt comfortable to get onto Pierro’s back but my horse didn’t feel comfortable at all from halfway down and I think he’s done a great job to finish fourth.”
ROAD TRIPPIN 5th, BEN MELHAM – “He was very fit coming into this race today and Steve [Theodore] wanted me to ride him that way.”
“I think he lacked a little bit of a turn of foot in that grade.”
ASHOKAN 6th, JAMES MCDONALD – “He probably just got a bit wound up in the mid stages and worked a bit hard.”
“He ran to the best of his ability.”
LET GO LENNI 7th, CRAIG NEWITT – “He was disappointing but he got pole axed around the first turn and we thought we’d be in the box seat travelling where as we were three pairs back off the bit the whole way.”
“They were probably too good for him.”
CARRINGBUSH JACK 8th, JAKE NOONAN – “His run was probably better than it looked, he was just a bit out graded here today.”
“Just when they went to pick up the pace from the 600 he just struggled to really stay in touch with them.”
“He’s probably looking for a mile and a quarter, I think that’s going to be his go maybe next preparation.”
“He just struggled in this type of company to really quicken with them”.