Evergreen galloper Fawkner showed his typical toughness to return to racing with a strong win in the 2015 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington this afternoon.
Fawkner was allocated a wide draw when the Makybe Diva Stakes field was released earlier in the week, but jockey Damien Oliver worked his magic and he had the Reset gelding settled in a lovely position in the early stages of the race.
Entirely Platinum produced a typically brave effort and gave Fawkner something to chase in the final stages of the race, but Fawkner knuckled down in the last 100 metres to score a narrow victory from Rising Romance and Boban.
Oliver produced one of the best rides that you will see in a Group 1 race, but the modest hoop was quick to pay credit to the toughness of Fawkner and the work that the Macedon Lodge team have done with the eight-year-old.
“He is a ripper this horse, what a warrior,” Oliver said.
“He is an eight-year-old, but he has had the best like at the Williams stable and they have looked after him really well.
“He is probably the lightest-raced eight-year-old that you will ever see, but they do a great job with him and he keeps coming up.
“They went really steady in the mid stages and I was biding my time, but I looked over my shoulder and saw the pack coming, so I had to get out.
“We probably arrived a bit earlier than I wanted too, but we enjoyed such a sweet run that he was always going to have a good kick.”
Co-owner Nick Williams had been desperate to secure Oliver to ride Fawkner during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he was clearly delighted that his persistence had paid off with a Group 1 victory in the 2015 Makybe Diva Stakes – over 20 years after Oliver had his first race ride on a Macedon Lodge-owned galloper.
“It was so exciting to see him win this race,” Williams said.
“To win a Group 1 here at the home of racing is just terrific and the young bloke that rode him today, I think it is the best ride I have ever seen.
“What he did in the first 150 metres of the race just showed why he has been the dominant jockey in this country for the last couple of decades.
“It is fantastic to win a Group 1 with one of the greats of the turf.
“We raced Reset and the fact that we have been able to race his best son is just something that dreams are made of.”
Fawkner will have his next race start in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 before he attempts to go one better in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.