Trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident Niwot will be a chance for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup after handicappers chose not to penalise him for yesterday’s The Lexus Stakes win.
Niwot propelled himself into Melbourne Cup contention by winning the Group 3 The Lexus Stakes and will now go into the $6 million Melbourne Cup with just 51 kilograms on his back.
The seven-year-old gelding’s luck improved even further when he was allocated gate nine when the barrier draw was conducted following yesterday’s racing.
“He’s really hard and fit and he’s lightly weighted,” Hawkes said.
“He’s drawn a good gate and that helps even more. Wet or dry (track) doesn’t really matter.
“He might lack a bit of class, but overall he can stay and he’s got 51.
“He really is an old-fashioned Cup horse.
“A lot of them have run extremely well and some of them have even won it.
“I think the key thing is the weight factor. He’s getting seven kilos off Americain.
“On level weights he couldn’t beat him, but that’s what the handicaps are all about.”
It was the second The Lexus Stakes win in as many years for Hawkes, who’s talented galloper Maluckyday posted victory in last year’s edition.
“(Niwot) won with a bit of authority,” Hawkes said.
“He didn’t grind and win by a half head.
“He put paid to them pretty quick.
“He really hasn’t done that before.
“That was as good as I’ve seen him race.”
Niwot, who sustained what appeared to be a career-ending just 18 months ago, is said to have recovered without complications from yesterday’s run.
“He pulled up really good,” the trainer said.
“If anything he pulled up better after the race than before the race.
“He has a lot of miles put into his legs leading up to the race.
“The month he has had leading into it and that’s what makes them pull up well.”
“All the vets and everybody said 18 months ago, he’d never see a racetrack again.
“Just to come back from what we had and where he is at now, is big.
“If he was lucky enough to win the race, it would be something special.”.