Team Hawkes is content knowing the stables Melbourne Cup contenders Maluckyday and Niwot are primed for the race that stops the nation.
“When they are fully qualified it takes a lot of pressure off you,” said Michael Hawkes whose brother Wayne and father John, who is a Hall of Fame member, make up the training team.
“You don’t have to worry about getting into the race at the start of a preparation. You just want them to come up 100 per cent, fit and well on the day and these two are fit and well.
“They are ready for tomorrow.”
Hawkes was just about to take part in the Melbourne Cup parade down south and was involved in the Niwot entourage.
For team Hawkes the world’s richest handicap race remains a target. Their multiple group 1 winner Railings, who did win the Metrop and Caulfield Cup in 2005, competed in three Melbourne Cups but never made it in to the top 10.
Their Australian Derby winner Fiumicino beat one home three years ago while Maluckyday finished second to Americain in 2010 while Niwot ran a mighty 8thbehind Dunaden last year.
Maluckyday wasn’t seen 12 months having survived a bout of pneumonia which almost claimed the stayers life. Maluckday is owned by the “spud King” Nick Moraitis, who won the Melbourne Cup courtesy of Might And Power, while he enjoyed racing Fiumicino.
Now a six-year-old Maluckday kicked off the latest cup campaign in Sydney at Rosehill, which is run by Michael, before heading to Wayne who heads up the Flemington stable.
“I’ve been back and forth to Melbourne in recent times but he [Maluckyday] looked enormous when I arrived last Thursday,” Hawkes said.
“He keeps progressing, looks sensational, he is all dappled up and looks very, very fit.
“Third-up we always knew would determine if he was back and the run in the Bart Cummings was enormous.
“He was a bit stiff not to win and in the Geelong Cup his sectionals were outstanding in a race where the tempo didn’t suit.
“He only got wound up the last two furlongs and the form out of the Geelong Cup has been pretty good, it has produced the last two Melbourne Cup winners and Media Puzzle did the double as well.
“He is right on song, he has drawn a good gate, he should get a good run and hopefully he flies the Aussie flag.”
And don’t under-estimate Niwot which Michael tuned out of the Rosehill yard to win the Sydney Cup back in the autumn.
“Last start in the Caulfield Cup, on face value it was a little disappointing but everyone is entitled to put in one bad run,” Hawkes said.
“He may be the forgotten horse, he was the first Aussie trained horse home last year and he is back to Flemington, the bigger track will suit, and the two miles is right up his alley.
“A bit of rain would help both our horses and the forecast is for showers.”
By Craig Young