He was looming as a star of the Sydney autumn racing carnival but for seven year old gelding Hawk Island the 2011 Caulfield Cup is his chance for retribution after a disastrous finish to last season.
The Chris Waller trained runner is arguably the best wet track stayer in the country, his record of six wins from 11 starts on the heavy ground accounts for 60 percent of his total wins in all conditions.
Naturally then the Sydney autumn carnival this year was tailor made for him as he was presented with a series of rain affected tracks.
His 2011 started with a couple of handicap events over shorter distance before he moved to the Parramatta Cup (which was actually run on a good surface) and he won easily, putting three and a half lengths on his rivals.
From there though the rain came and he ran third in the Ranvet Stakes across 2000m on the slow before finishing fourth on a chopped up dead track in the Group 1 BMW over 2400m.
It was his next start, the Japan Racing Association Plate, where he encountered his first heavy surface getting up by a half length over Galizani across a 2000m trip.
From there it was the 3200m of the Sydney Cup once again on heavy ground, a race in which he would start as one of the favourites.
He jumped from barrier 11 and slotted in worse than mid field as they made their way around the first mile and a half, he was settled perfectly two off the fence.
As they neared the bend he began to work forward and without being niggled at started to make serious in roads around the field.
It was there it all went horrible wrong though with Tinseltown falling in front of him and bringing both horses crashing to the ground.
While the horses escaped relatively unhurt, Hawk Island’s Group 1 aspirations laid in tatters when many experts agree he was in a dominant position to win that race.
Things are very different for the horse coming into the Caulfield Cup, in fact based on media reports you’d barely know he was running.
He’s touching $30 with some bookmakers and has warranted barely a whisper behind the likes of December Draw and the European imports.
In spite of this, his campaign to date actually hasn’t been all that bad.
He ran on for an eye catching sixth in a 1400m race to start his prep before struggling when last across 1600m in the Chelmsford Stakes on a good surface.
He bounced back though and showed some versatility in the process when he finished second, once again on a good surface, across 2000m in the Hill Stakes.
His final run was on dead ground in The Metropolitan and it was a good run that saw him finish second once again.
There’s no doubt he’s a forgotten horse in the Caulfield cup entirely due to being pegged as only a mud runner.
His recent runs though suggest there could be a bit more to this horse and he’s one that will have no issue running out the 2400m.
Assuming emergencies come out he’ll move into a perfect barrier 10 and will have Glyn Schofield on board at just 55.5kg.
It’s also unlikely to be a good surface on Saturday and with showers hanging around the sting will certainly be out of the surface.
This brings Hawk Island well and truly into the race and gives the Waller team a genuine chance to spring an upset in the 2011 Caulfield Cup and finally give the horse the Group 1 he probably deserves.