The Hawkes training team has a long and successful history with the family of Zebrowski and they are confident the inexperienced colt will not be out of place in the $1 million Bondi Stakes at Randwick.
The three-year-old is a three-quarter brother to multiple Group winner Leebaz and a half-brother to 2012 Australian Derby runner-up Polish Knight and Group Three winning mare Euro Angel, all trained by the Hawkes partnership.
But while his pedigree page is impressive, he goes into Saturday’s inaugural running of the 1600 metre race as the least seasoned horse in the field.
Runner-up on debut at Goulburn, Zebrowski will come up against Group One J J Atkins placegetter Kubrick and stakes winner Just Thinkin’.
Both are deep into their respective spring campaigns and co-trainer Michael Hawkes has no qualms testing the waters with Zebrowski, who has inherited his share of the family’s ability.
“Yes he is taking on Kubrick and Just Thinkin’ and horses like that but sometimes you do have to have a throw at the stumps and he wouldn’t be going there if we didn’t think he was worthy of a start,” Hawkes said.
“It’s probably not the strongest of fields for a $1 million race but right horse, right time.
“We’re hoping timing is everything.”
While Zebrowski is one of the outsiders for the Bondi Stakes, stablemate Master Of Wine remains a clear-cut favourite to continue his winning form when he extends to 2400 metres for the first time in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup.
The European import has not missed a place in six Australian runs and was an impressive last-start Randwick winner.
“He’s taken a bit longer than normal to settle into the Australian lifestyle but he’s away now,” Hawkes said.
“He looks good in the coat. We’re happy with him and this is his next progressive step so we’ll see how he goes.”
The Hawkes team last won the City Tattersalls Club Cup in 2010 with Maluckyday in an era when the race was frequently used as a stepping stone to the Melbourne Cup.
The internationalisation of Australia’s most famous race and programming changes have altered the landscape, although Master Of Wine remains among Melbourne Cup entries.
The top two market picks for the Tattersalls Cup are both unproven over the distance with Tulloch Lodge gelding Rapido Chaparro also being stretched to a staying trip for the first time.
The last-start Port Macquarie Cup winner has been more relaxed this preparation and co-trainer Adrian Bott is happy to step him out in distance.
“He’s rock-hard fit at this point in his preparation and he’s thriving, so now is the right time to test him,” Bott said.