The Group One Orr Stakes is among the options for the return of 3yo Cox Plate runner-up All Too Hard.
Trainer John Hawkes said the rising star would have a jump-out in the coming weeks ahead of his resumption in Melbourne.
The Listed Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 2 and the CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at the same venue a week later are the races Hawkes has narrowed down for All Too Hard’s return.
“He’ll be ready at the end of the month, whether it’s the Manfred or the Orr or something like that,” Hawkes told Radio Sport National.
“In the next couple of weeks he’ll have one or two jump-outs and then head to the races.”
A half brother to Black Caviar, All Too Hard is forging a reputation in his own right and was this week rated equal best three-year-old miler under the World Thoroughbred Rankings system.
He became the first horse to beat Pierro when he chased him down in the Caulfield Guineas last spring and showed that was no fluke with a fine second to Ocean Park in the Cox Plate.
Hawkes said he wasn’t afraid to take on the older horses in the Orr.
“I’ve always liked to take on the older horses … sometimes they’re easier to beat than your own age bracket,” Hawkes said.
“You judge that race-to-race and by how he performs.”
The Australian Guineas Gr.1 will be All Too Hard’s primary mission in Melbourne before he heads to Sydney for an autumn assault.
What races he contests there remain open for discussion.
“Whether it be the Ranvet or the Ryder, those types of races. Nothing is set in concrete,” Hawkes said.
Hawkes also confirmed Dwayne Dunn would continue his association with the colt who he has ridden in seven of his nine starts.
An overseas campaign is also a possibility.
© Australian Associated Press Pty Limited (AAP) 2013