Tough stayer Niwot rewarded Team Hawkes’ hard work and dedication by taking out the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick today.
Team Hawkes head trainer John Hawkes admitted that Niwot wasn’t an easy horse to train and had to be nursed and nurtured back to winning form after overcoming many injuries throughout his career.
The Sydney Cup had been Niwot’s Autumn target from the outset and with some good lead up form was sent out the favourite for the tough 3200m contest.
With two Group one fourths in the Ranvet Stakes and The BMW, jockey Dwayne Dunn rode a confident race on the seven year old and made his move at the 800m to start to reel in the leaders Sound Billing and Once Were Wild.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Once Were Wild skipped clear at the 250m but under hard ridding Niwot was able to wear her down and then held off the determined finish of Efficient who dashed up along the inside.
“He’s a horse that has had a lot of injuries and was out in the paddock for a long time and he’s had some really good wins and ran particularly well in the Melbourne Cup last year,’ Hawkes said.
“There’s nothing like winning and to be able to win a Sydney Cup again, it’s fantastic.”
“He’s not an easy horse to train and when these horses come back from injuries like that, it’s just great to see them win a race like this”
“There was a lot of hard work early and a lot of credit goes to Peter Morgan. He done a lot of work on the water walker and treadmill.”
Dunn was happy to finally get a Group one win for the Carnival and said it was good to share it with Team Hawkes.
Kerrin McEvoy eased second favourite Permit out of the race at the 1000m after he felt him go amiss but appeared to escape any major injury.