Kote to give cheek in Hawkesbury Guineas 2023

“It’s a very simple recipe – find a bum”.

That will be Anthony Cummings’ instruction to jockey Josh Parr when he is legged aboard Kote in the Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) on Saturday.

Cummings has never doubted Kote’s ability, but he is the first to admit that harnessing it has been a challenge.

The three-year-old looked to be heading in the right direction when he won the Brian Crowley Stakes last spring, but Cummings found himself back to square one two starts into Kote’s latest campaign when the horse twice overdid things in front and weakened.

An experienced horseman, Cummings decided on a freshen-up and a change of tact.

“That wasn’t working so we went back at his next run in stakes grade and he came from a long last and motored home to run second. It was probably his best run this prep so far,” Cummings said.

“Then he went to Rosehill and was unlucky not to be in the finish. He ran second after being in all sorts of trouble at the furlong when he and the winner went for a run at the same point. The winner got it, we didn’t and he got pushed sideways.”

Those placings behind Dashing Legend in the Fireball Quality (1100m) and Opal Ridge in the Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) earned Kote a start in the Group 2 Arrowfield Stud Stakes (1200m) during The Championships.

But from a wide draw, the gelding was trapped deep and had little option but to roll forward, working hard to get there and tiring over the final 100m to finish fifth.

Cummings is hoping for a different scenario from a midfield draw at Hawkesbury and if that is the case, he doesn’t expect the 1400m journey to be any issue.

“So long as he finds cover in the first furlong, in that circumstance I think he could run a mile,” Cummings said.

“He’s got a pedigree that says he should, there are Melbourne Cup winners in his pedigree, Derby winners, so there’s no lack of stamina.

“His headspace just needs to be in the right place and it’s nearly there.”

Cummings also has Cap Estel in the final race and is looking for her to bounce back after she was caught on the worst part of the track first-up at Hawkesbury.

A Group 3 placegetter, the mare didn’t get a start in the Hawkesbury Crown and Cummings wants to see her win her way back into black-type company.

“We go there with great hope on Saturday,” he said.

“I had paid up for her in the mares’ race on Saturday, but she was balloted out and that was a reflection of her form, so she’s got to force her way back into that grade.”

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