The out-of-form Hawkspur will return to Sydney for the remainder of the Autumn Carnival and will miss running in the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8.
Instead trainer Chris Waller will prepare the Queensland Derby winner for the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on the same day.
Hawkspur wasn’t in the list of nineteen first acceptances today for the Australian Cup leaving Foreteller as Waller’s only representative in the weight for age Autumn Carnival feature.
Hawkspur failed to fire in Melbourne during last Spring which included a twentieth to Fiorente in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and was again disappointing at his first run for the Autumn when he failed to beat a runner home when sixth to Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.
Waller is blaming the hard Melbourne tracks for Hawkspur’s lack of form and is hoping the switch back to Sydney will see him find the form that saw him take all before him during the last year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival.
“I just thought he was a little way off where we want him to be down there,’’ Waller told The Daily Telegraph.
“Plus I don’t think he likes the hard tracks and the tracks get very firm this time of year in Melbourne.’’
As a three year old Hawkspur went through the Winter Carnival undefeated from three starts with Jim Cassidy sharing all three victories.
At his first Brisbane run he scored a three lengths win in the Group 3 $125,000 Mittys Rough Habit Plate (2100m) at Eagle Farm on May 11 followed by a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on May 25.
With that winning form on the board, Hawkspur was sent out the $4 equal favourite for the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm and the result was never in doubt when Cassidy said go at the top of the straight.
Waller has also nominated Hawkspur for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12 and the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 19 both at Randwick over the two weekends of ‘The Championships’.