Hawkes has Cox Plate mentality

The Cox Plate beckons for multiple Group One winner Mentality who is in “super” order ahead of his return in Saturday’s Premiere Stakes at Rosehill.

John Hawkes
The Hawkes training partnership is hoping the six-year-old’s latest campaign, which starts in the 1200m Group Two feature, ends with Cox Plate glory in October.
Michael Hawkes, who trains with father John and brother Wayne, says Mentality has thrived since returning from a 21-week spell.
Mentality has not raced since his seventh to All Silent in the Canterbury Stakes in late March.
He showed the Hawkes team he was spot-on when he scored a comfortable win in a 900-metre barrier trial at Rosehill on August 4.
“He’s come back super and is as good this time as he has been every other time, there’s just a bit more of him that’s all,” Michael Hawkes said.
“It’s just a starting point for him on Saturday but when he goes out there he’s always trying hard and you’ll see him hitting the line strongly.
“We’re looking at the Cox Plate and now it’s just a matter of starting him off and hoping he keeps showing us enough to steer him in that direction, but we couldn’t be happier with him so far.”
Mentality has not won since he claimed his third Group One victory in the George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in September last year.
“There’s nothing dead-set in concrete with him, he’s six years old and it is usually a day-to-day thing with the older ones but provided we can avoid wet tracks he will have a big campaign,” Hawkes said.
The Flying Spur gelding scored his first Group One victory in the 2006 Champagne Stakes before winning his second major race, the Randwick Guineas, a year later.
He has drawn awkwardly in the widest barrier, eight, and will be ridden by Jay Ford on Saturday.
Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready is the $3 favourite with TAB Sportsbet for the Premiere Stakes ahead of More Than Great ($4.40) while Mentality is the outsider at $21.
Mentality is at $51 on TAB Sportsbet’s fixed odds market for the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Stablemate Rocket Rod, who has been racing consistently, is expected to go well in Saturday’s Mounties Group Handicap (2000m) at Rosehill.
The Nick Moraitis owned five-year-old will be ridden by Jim Cassidy and is coming off a third to the highly-regarded Voice Coach at Rosehill over Saturday’s distance on August 1.
“He’s done well since the run and should go very close,” Hawkes said.
Cassidy won on Rocket Rod last time he rode him at Warwick Farm in February over 1600 metres.

By Russell Jackson