2013 Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner has been well supported in early betting for his return to the race track in the Group 1 $400,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Fawkner will be having his first run back since finishing tenth to Protectionist in last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November and despite drawing barrier fourteen in the original draw, still has plenty of supporters.
The Robert HIchmott trained grey opened up at $8.50 when the final field was released on Wednesday and on Thursday morning shortened into $6 and is now the second favourite behind the Chris Waller trained Boban at $4.40.
Fawkner, with Damien Oliver to ride, has now leapfrogged Alpine Eagle who is now on the third line of betting at $7, also firming in from $7.50.
Fawkner was due to resume for the Melbourne Spring Carnival in the Group 1 $400,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29 but after drawing barrier eighteen, connections opted for a an exhibition gallop at the track with stablemate Observational.
Part owner Nick Williams said after the gallop that Fawkner and his English import Observational both worked well and would kick off their Spring campaigns on Makybe Diva Stakes Day.
“They both look to have done that very easily,” William said.
“It will be the same as last year, he will now kick-off in the Makybe Diva.
“I think Observational will probably kick-off on the same day or maybe next week.
“They both look to be going pretty well.”
Williams’ luck with barrier draws hasn’t got any better with Observational coming up with gate eighteen out of sixteen runners plus four emergencies in the $90,000 Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m).
Fawkner kicked off his 2014 Spring Carnival campaign with a photo finish second to Dissident in the last year’s version of the Makybe Diva Stakes and then went on to win the Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
But then he failed to run out the two miles when tenth in the Melbourne Cup.
Makybe Diva Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.40 Boban, $6 Fawkner, $7 Alpine Eagle, $10 Weary, $11 Volkstok’N’Barrell, Hi World, Rising Romance, $12 Entirely Platinum, Happy Trails, $16 Mongolian Khan, $26 Smokin’ Joey, Awesome Rock, $31 Our Ivanhowe, Magicool, $41 Prince Of Penzance, Gust Of Wind, $101 Dandino.