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Australian Racing - Racing: Hawkes team want halt in rainfall

The Hawkes stable are keeping their fingers firmly crossed that the rainfall in Sydney comes to a halt sooner rather than later as they prepare Masked Crusader to run in the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

The son of Swettenham Stud shuttler Toronado finished second to Nature Strip in the 1200-metre contest last year and is currently an 8/1 shot to go one better this time around this weekend.

Good form last year

Masked Crusader had won the Group 1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley three weeks previous to that second-placed effort in 2021.

This year, there has been a change of approach with the five-year-old having been campaigned in Melbourne as he chases a second top-flight win, but not all has gone according to plan for Hawkes Racing.

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Having finished fifth in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on 19th February, the gelding then went on to finish seventh in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington two weeks later in conditions described as heavy.

Weather improvement needed

Although some factors have been out of their control to an extent, connections are at least hoping for drier weather.

"You won't see him there again," co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said. "His first run was a bit all over the shop because that three-year-old (Profiteer) interfered with them all.

"Then he still punched the line pretty strong the other day, but he's not a straight horse and he was looking for a corner.

"I also don't want it too wet for him. It's got to stop raining. He doesn't love the wet tracks."

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