The much-maligned Australian staying ranks have become even thinner with the retirement of Team Hawkes-trained veteran Niwot.
The eight-year-old was retired following his eighth-place finish in Saturday’s Sydney Cup and could soon be joined by stablemate Maluckyday.
Hawkes will discuss Maluckyday’s future with owner Nick Moratis but said his Sydney Cup seventh was only fair and doesn’t believe he can ever return to the heights that saw him run second in the 2010 Melbourne Cup.
“He’s just not the horse he was with the problems he’s had. With the damage he suffered to his lungs, he can’t let go any more,” Hawkes told TVN.
“Unfortunately, he’ll never get back to where he was.”
The pair were two of only six locally-bred runners in the 2012 Melbourne Cup but failed to make an impact, with Niwot beaten 10 lengths in 15th place and Maluckyday even further back in 19th.
The Australian staying ranks have come under fire in the past few years as imports and raiders continue to taste success in Australia’s biggest races.
Shocking (2009) was the last locally-bred horse to win the Melbourne Cup and there is a growing trend of owners and trainers purchasing European horses to chase success in the $6.2 million race.
Niwot raced 38 times for nine wins and five minor placings and collected more than $1.26 million in prizemoney.
His biggest win came in the 2012 Sydney Cup but he also took out the Group 3 Lexus Stakes during the 2011 spring carnival.
Niwot ran in two Caulfield and two Melbourne Cups but was unplaced from his four efforts in the spring’s biggest staying events.