Australian Cup winner Harlem will be aimed at the Cox Plate rather than the major cups. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
Australian Cup winner Harlem will be aimed at the Cox Plate rather than the major cups. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

Cox Plate a better fit for Harlem

DAVID Hayes is leaning towards a weight-for-age program rather than chasing the Caulfield and Melbourne cups with Australian Cup winner Harlem, who could end up in a Cox Plate clash with super mare Winx.

Harlem will resume in this Saturday's $200,000 Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, as will stablemate and last year's Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time.

Hayes said Harlem's jump-outs indicatde he was in for his best Australian campaign as he appeared to be a length or two better.

Hayes said the plan for Harlem was to stay on the weight-for-age path with the Cox Plate the main aim.

"He'll be entered for the Caulfield Cup, but his best form in Australia is over 2000m," Hayes said.

"He's a weight-for-age horse now. He was brought to be a Melbourne Cup but every time he gets to 2400m he weakens.

"If he's in form it's hard to pass up a Caulfield Cup handicap, but he's run one of the fastest 2000m at Caulfield and at Flemington ever."

Australian Cup winner Harlem will be set for the Cox Plate. Picture: Getty Images
Australian Cup winner Harlem will be set for the Cox Plate. Picture: Getty Images

Hayes said he expected Harlem to run a forward race in the Lawrence Stakes but to improve with the run.

Boom Time will also stay on a weight-for-age program until he defends his Caulfield Cup crown.

"He'll need the run. He'll be better off over 1800m," Hayes said.

It will be a star-studded affair with Darren Weir possibly having seven runners in the race.

Weir said he was contemplating backing up Aurie's Star Stakes winner Voodoo Lad up in the Lawrence Stakes.

Weir could also have Black Heart Bart and Humidor, Kings Will Dream, Danon Liberty, Big Duke and Red Cardinal, who will all resume in that race.

Weir said those six gallopers would all work at Coleraine on Monday. After that he would make a decision on whether they would run.

Mick Price's Group 1 winners Grunt and Mighty Boss will resume in the Lawrence Stakes.


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