Bandersnatch earns Doncaster start

Bandersnatch has won his way into the $4 million Doncaster Mile.

Team Hawkes last won a Doncaster Mile with Brutal four years ago and Michael Hawkes reckon they have a shot at repeating the dose with sprinter-miler Bandersnatch. 

The under-rated gelding secured his spot in next weekend's elite field with victory in the Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday and given he drops 12lbs to 112lbs in the feature, Hawkes says the in-form six-year-old is a fighting chance. 

"Brutal was our last Doncaster winner and drew an ordinary barrier, it takes a good horse to do it," Hawkes said. 

"Bandersnatch, he's got a light weight, he's an impressive horse, he's always been thereabouts. 

"I think it's an even sort of race to a degree and he just needs a decent run and if it's a bit wet, he likes that too. 

"The horse is flying and honestly he's a good chance." 

Given a beautiful ride by Brenton Avdulla, Bandersnatch ($7.50) surged to the front in the straight and never seriously looked like being run down, scoring by 2-1/4 lengths over Welwal ($12) with Diamil ($14) another half-length further back. 

He gave Team Hawkes back-to-back Prelude wins after Mr Mozart's success last year, Avdulla describing Bandersnatch as a quirky horse who always had Saturday's race in his keeping. 

"He's a horse that if you have any contact with him, he sort of throws his head back at you. He only threw it back once at that's a result," Avdulla said. 

"I felt in control a long way out." 

Cross Talk started a $3.90 favourite and took up his customary leadership role, sticking on soundly for fourth with jockey Tim Clark describing the performance as "honest". 

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