The carry-on between John Singleton and the Waterhouse camp monopolised the headlines following the Group 1 Yarraman Park All Aged Stakes (1400m) but top colt All Too Hard (Casino Prince – Helsinge, by Desert Prince) produced a brilliant performance to claim the Randwick event.
The newspapers and television stations went to town on the More Joyous (More Than Ready – Sunday Joy, by Sunday Silence) debacle, which also involved bookmakers Tom and Robbie Waterhouse, overshadowing All Too Hard’s maiden Group 1 victory in Sydney.
All Too Hard’s three previous Group 1 wins had been in Melbourne in the Caulfield Guineas, CF Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes but the son of Casino Prince (Flying Spur – Lady Capel, by Last Tycoon) had won only once in five starts in Sydney before his All Aged Stakes triumph.
The colt’s All Aged Stakes success was due, in no small part, to a terrific training performance from the Hawkes Racing operation. Illness cost All Too Hard the chance to run in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington but Hawkes Racing took its time to get All Too Hard right before sending him out to compete again, waiting until he was 100 percent right before the valuable three-year-old raced again.
All Too Hard jumped well to settle fourth in the early stages of the All Aged Stakes but More Joyous’s rider Nash Rawiller was able to ease out underneath Black Caviar’s (Bel Esprit – Helsinge, by Desert Sun) half-brother, forcing him wider, rounding the home turn. All Too Hard looked to be struggling to produce his dazzling acceleration until he got balanced atop the Randwick rise before he motored home late to consign Rain Affair (Commands – I Believe, by Octagonal) to second in the All Aged Stakes for the second straight year after Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock – Regard, by Zabeel) produced a similar turn of foot to beat him in 2012.
“To do what he’s done today in pulling out all stops takes a gutsy horse. He’s just an absolute athlete, he’s a racehorse and he’s got a big heart,” Michael Hawkes, who trains All Too Hard with his father John and brother Wayne, said.
“It’s been a long road, but he’s just an athlete. He’s got the family, the pedigree and he kicked some arse.”
“He’s up with the best of them, Lonhro and those horses.”
All Too Hard’s owners, a Vinery Stud-led consortium, has an eye on taking him to race at the Royal Ascot carnival in June with a victory to help them position him as a dual-hemisphere stallion prospect. However, Hawkes said the horse’s welfare would come first when assessing the merits of such an excursion.
“The horse comes first. He’s got to pull up enormous and then we’ll decide,” Hawkes said.
As for Waterhouse and Singleton, Racing NSW stewards will hear the latest round of their spat on Friday.