All Too Hard (left): 'not much he couldn't do' says his trainerPICTURE: Getty Images
Winning return for Royal Ascot hope All Too Hard
Report: Australia, Saturday
Caulfield: C F Orr Stakes (Group 1) 3yo+, 7f turf
ALL TOO HARD confirmed at Caulfield on Saturday there may only be one horse in Australia better than him - and that's his sister. Which means there are very few in the world who rate more highly.
In his first start since finishing second in the Cox Plate last October, All Too Hard defied the pattern of racing and some handy opposition to win the Orr Stakes and take the first step on a path that could end up in Europe's best races.
"There's probably not much he couldn't do," said co-trainer Wayne Hawkes.
"He's as good as there is going around."
By taking out the Orr, All Too Hard also completed a rare double by winning a race his half-sister Black Caviar won last year.
But unlike the world champion mare who captured the Orr Stakes with brilliant speed, All Too Hard ($2.30 fav) came from near-last, rounding up the leaders 100m from the line and then holding off Mawingo ($16) to win by a half length.
West Australian stayer Mr Moet ($13) took third a further head away.
While All Too Hard established himself as one of the country's best last spring, his subsequent sale by beleaguered former owner Nathan Tinkler to Vinery Stud added considerable tension to his return to racing.
"He's worth a lot of money," Hawkes said.
"We knew how good he was, but when they're as valuable as he is, it's a relief when they prove it."
Vinery manager Peter Orton, who stitched together the acquisition of All Too Hard, reflected the trainer's emotions.
"It's a huge relief," Orton said.
"If he's as good as we hoped he should be beating those horses, but the way the race panned out he had a lot against him."
New Zealander King Mufhasa set a moderate pace in front on a day when leaders appeared to be favoured.
But Dwayne Dunn put All Too Hard into the race 400m out in what proved to be the winning move.
"The only thing I told him was to ride him like he was the best horse in the race," Hawkes said.
"And he did."
All Too Hard is likely to have his next start in the Group One Australian Guineas at Flemington on March 2 with the Randwick Guineas or Doncaster Mile in Sydney his other autumn targets.
After that the colt embarks on an international campaign that will take in Royal Ascot and other European races before he goes to stud at Vinery next spring.