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Hauraki signals return to G1 form at Randwick

Mike Hedge

A string of Stakes placings at Randwick on Saturday has provided an encouraging guide to the prospects of Godolphin’s Australian team as the Sydney Autumn carnival steps up to full pace over the next month.

On a day made difficult for most runners by a heavy track, the best performance from the John O’Shea stable came from Hauraki (Brenton Avdulla) whose third placing in the G1 Canterbury Stakes was seen as a good guide to the G1 Doncaster Handicap.

Hauraki is already a G1 winner over the 1600m Doncaster trip, having taken out the Epsom Handicap last Spring.

“We’ll see the best of him he gets up to 1600m on a drier track at Randwick, the 1300m today was a bit short for him but he still ran very well,” O’Shea said.

Hauraki’s outstanding consistency has won him almost A$2.5-million from five wins and 10 placings, a record achieved almost entirely at the top level.

Unable to match the early speed of the G1 sprinters in his first-up run, Hauraki settled in the second half of the field on a track rated a heavy 10.

But the son of Reset unleashed a powerful finish against the outside fence to finish three lengths behind the G1 winners Le Romain and Chautauqua.

Earlier on the Randwick program Veranillo (Brenton Avdulla) kept his G1 Golden Slipper Stakes prospects alive with a good third to Gunnison in the G2 Todman Stakes.

Veranillo appeared likely to drop out at the 250m, but showed great determination to hold his ground on a surface that didn’t appear to suit him.

The consistent mare Alegria (Tim Clark) ran another honest race to finish second in the G3 Aspiration Quality won by Elle Lou.

After conceding several lengths to the leaders with 400m to run, Alegria finished strongly to go under by a neck.