Big Heart wins over hard-marker Hawkes

Vinery sire All Too Hard was top-class at two and a champion at three and all the talk at this year’s majors tells us his stock will develop along similar lines.

That’s a fair assessment after sizing up All Too Hard’s entire first crop of 145 foals.  Nevertheless, trainers have nominated 52 for the 2017 Blue Diamond Stakes and 75 for the 2017 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) believing he will sire a fair share of precocious two year-olds.

There’s no better judge than John Hawkes, he can be a hard-marker, but was a man on a mission buying his yearlinds at the Gold Coast, Oaklands and Newmarket.  “He’s right up there with the best I’ve ever trained,” Hawkes stated.  “He’s in the same class as Lonhro and has got the family, the pedigree and a big heart.”

All Too Hard made a winning debut in the LR Talindert Stakes (1100m) a week before the 2012 Blue Diamond won by Vinery filly Samaready.  He reappeared a fortnight later back at Flemington bolting in by four lengths in the G2 Victorian Sires’ Produce Stakes.

He starred in the spring beating Pierro in the G1 Caulfield Guineas and then returned for autumn wins in the G1 Orr Stakes, G1 Futurity Stakes and G1 All-Aged Stakes.

Hawkes paid-up for 13 by All Too Hard in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes on February 25 and just about the same group of 13 have been entered for the G1 Golden Slipper on March 18.

One of his first buys was the $440,000 colt that caught the eye at the Gold Coast Magic Millions.  His dam Roman Treasure (USA) was Group 1 placed in the Saratoga Test 2YO Stakes and Hawkes was clearly chuffed when surrounded by the press.  “He was my pick of all the All Too Hards,” he said.  “I liked him from the minute we arrived here.  So did plenty of others but fortunately we had the final say.”

Among All Too Hard’s Blue Diamond entries is the filly from Melbourne Cup legend Makybe Diva.  She was nominated by Tony McEvoy after making $300,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier.  “I’ve seen all Makybe Diva’s progeny,” he said.  “And I rate this one as a dead-set ‘mini me’ of the great mare.”

Another Makybe-bred youngster is the All Too Hard filly from G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Headway.  She made $280,000 at Melbourne Premier when purchased by Belmont Bloodstock’s Damon Gabbedy on behalf of Vinery.

Gilgai Farm owner Rick Jamieson bred All Too Hard and his half-sister sister Black Caviar and the latest crop of new-season two year-olds from Nagambie includes an All Too Hard filly from NZ mare Juice (Bertolini).

Flemington-based training team Mat Ellerton and Simon Zahra bought her at Melbourne Premier.  Juice won an Avondale juvenile and peaked at four the G1 NZ Bloodstock Breeders’ Stakes.

All Too Hard topped the median for freshman sires at the Gold Coast and the averages at Melbourne Premier and Inglis Easter.  Those returns make him value-plus for a $55,000 (inc gst) service fee at Vinery this year.