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Multaja heads up a strong Hawkesbury Stakes team

Mike Hedge

The quality fillies Multaja and Manicureinfo-icon come to Saturday’s G3 Hawkesbury Crown with contrasting form lines, but their trainer James Cummings believes each has the credentials to be in the finish.

In the feature meeting of the season at Hawkesbury, Multaja and Manicure run in the Crown, Ranier for Tim Clark runs in the G3 Hawkesbury Guineas and Badajoz, Epidemic and Intuition contest the Listed Hawkesbury Gold Rush.

Multaja (James McDonald) comes to her race with a storming victory to her credit in the G3 PJ Bell Stakes at Randwick three weeks ago and a victory over 1,100m at this track at her previous run.

“She brings some authority to this fillies’ and mares’ race and she returns to Hawkesbury where she won two starts back,” said trainer James Cummings.

“We’ve found that she likes to have her runs spaced, so she has a bit in her favour.”

In recognition of the demanding run Manicure (Jason Collett) endured before finishing near the tail of the field on a heavy track in the G1 Coolmore Classic at Rosehill last month, Cummings gave her a break and the filly returns here in good order.

“She’s freshened up well since an arduous effort in the Coolmore Classic and she looks well-suited dropping back to 1300m,” he said.

“She should be strong on the day and capable of being very competitive.”

Another whose form the stable is hoping to revive is Ranier (Tim Clark) in the Hawkesbury Guineas, with Cummings looking to the drop back to 1,400m to revive the colt’s fortunes.

“The best performance of his entire campaign was his run at this trip when he was fourth when second-up in the CS Hayes at Flemington,” Cummings said.

“It’s fair to say he hasn’t taken the next step this preparation, but at this time of the year he deserves one more chance.”

The Hawkesbury team also includes Badajoz who has become a specialist at the 1,100m of the Gold Rush, a race in which his opponents include his stablemates Epidemic and Intuition.

“Badajoz has become something of a specialist at this trip and he’s shown he can be effective when freshened-up,” Cummings said.

“Intuition has had a short break after showing very good form, he’s a talented horse with a good strike rate.”

While both have a lot to recommend them, Epidemic, a sister to the multiple G1 winner and Darley stallion Impending, has been below her best in recent outings, but stays under notice on the strength of her excellent form of this time last year when she won three races in succession.

“She’s done very little since winning the Helen Coughlan Stakes at the Sunshine Coast last year.”

“So she’s got some improvement to make and this will be the right sort of measuring stick for her.”