Sir John Hawkwood has produced a career-best performance to take out the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Jumping from the gates well, regular hoop Blake Spriggs allowed the horse to stride forward and take a positive position on the heels of early race leaders Storm The Stars and Dee I Cee.
Settling into a great rhythm and experiencing a carefree run on the rails, Spriggs allowed the horse to steadily build in momentum approaching the final straight and gave plenty of time to balance before asking for an extra effort.
Having pulled a few lengths in the clear of his rivals, Sir John Hawkwood mustered a big turn of foot and sustained to the line; seeing off a spirited fight from Antonio Giuseppe; Allergic running on for third.
Sir John Hawkwood was a favourite in The Metropolitan betting markets earlier this week, but he was something of the forgotten entity in the hours leading up to jump as punters rallied around the likes of Who Shot Thebarman and Antonio Giuseppe.
Spriggs also secured his first Group 1 win in partnering Sir John Hawkwood this afternoon and was thrilled to repay owners Waratah Thoroughbreds for sticking with him through recent seasons.
“It feels amazing, it’s the best day of my life,” Spriggs said.
“I linked up with this horse about 18 months ago and he was mixing his form a little bit, and the boss said to me that if I could get him going, I’d stick with him.
“We did the form yesterday and he said ‘I’ll be blunt with you, I think we’re going to win’. I was very confident but I owe it all to Waratah and Paul Fudge.
“They got him 110% today and full credit to John (Thompson). It’s never easy to get a horse first time into the stables and he’s not easy to train. It just goes to show what a master trainer he is.
“He won the jump and got into a nice spot, exactly where I wanted to be. I was happy to go to the fence and when Kerrin came off the bit, I gave him a bit of a squeeze so I could push out when I wanted to, and he really dashed.
“What a horse.”
John Thompson only saddled Sir John Hawkwood for the second time this afternoon, but was understandably thrilled with the horse’s class and performance in winning The Metropolitan 2016.
“He’s a marvellous old horse and a credit to his previous trainers Peter Moody and David Vandyke,”
“I don’t know him that well. I haven’t had him long but I’ve just been listening to Blake who does know him well. He’s done nothing but thrive in my stable.
“He ran well first-up and has done nothing but improve well. We took him to Kembla to top him off and anyone who saw that gallop knew he was going to run well today.”