Racing: Kawi to bypass Cox Plate

By Mike Dillon

Kawi dashes clear of his rivals to win the Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings on Saturday. Photo / Paul Taylor
Kawi dashes clear of his rivals to win the Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings on Saturday. Photo / Paul Taylor

The Cox Plate is NOT a target and trainer Allan Sharrock remains unconvinced Kawi is even a 2000m horse.

Kawi is a group 1 winner at 2000m in the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie, but Sharrock is being cautious about Kawi's Melbourne spring campaign, despite the topliner's dashing $200,000 Makfi win on Saturday.

Despite Kawi missing the Foxbridge Plate lead-up, Sharrock was supremely confident his stable star would win the Makfi.

"I could tell the light was on after his jumpout on Monday. We did very well out of the win."

Sharrock has declared Kawi will run in the middle leg of the Hastings treble, the 1600m Windsor Park Plate on September 17, but has yet to confirm a programme beyond that despite doing some work on the Melbourne races available yesterday morning.

"He certainly won't be running in the Cox Plate. Everything apart from Winx will be running for second money.

You're kidding yourself if you think you can beat her - she is one of the best I've ever seen."

The 2000m A$1.5 million Mackinnon Stakes is a possibility, but for that to be a target Sharrock has to convince himself of something.

"I'm guarded as to whether he's a natural 2000m horse. The Zabeel win suggests he is, but look at his record at 1400m - he's had 11 starts and won seven of them. He might just be a sprinter/metric miler."

The Mackinnon will be an interesting race this year. Traditionally it has been run on the Derby on the opening day of the Flemington carnival and often included a number of Melbourne Cup hopes four days later.

This year for the first time it will be run on the final of the four days, obviously eliminating the Cup horses, but giving the Cox Plate runners a two-week gap, rather than one to back up.

"That will change the race significantly. Also, the Emirates (1600m,) which has been run on the last day, is now on Derby Day, which will allow horses to back up into the Mackinnon."

The other competitive possibility is the Europeans could send down the odd Mackinnon horse, because A$1.5 million is a lot better than they race that type of horse for.

Also in the mix is running Kawi in the third leg of the Hastings treble, the $250,000 Livamol Classic over 2000m. "Let's face it, if he can't win the Livamol he can't win the Mackinnon."

Sharrock is not worried the Makfi run will flatten the horse. "He cleaned up his feed overnight. He made a better job of eating than I did this morning."

Yet another possibility is a million dollar race in Perth on December 5. "That's a month after the Mackinnon, which is a lovely gap for this horse."

In a turn-up, El Pascado finished second and Farm Boy third. There were decent runs behind those. Longchamp's fourth was excellent, Stolen Dance was axed back to the back of the field in the first few strides and her run can be forgotten.

It was clear Hasselhoof is looking for a middle distance. He got back and was following Kawi mid-race, but when Kawi sprinted Hasselhoof couldn't keep up. His last 150m was strong though and he will improve as the distances extend.

Valley Girl hung badly throughout the race and a question mark hangs over her performance.

- NZ Herald

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