The father and sons training team of John, Wayne & Michael Hawkes is gearing up for a great autumn after welcoming back into work a host of their top players including Deep Field, Mossfun and Chautauqua.
Co-trainer Michael spoke to Racent on Tuesday and confirmed both Deep Field and Mossfun had returned to the stables yesterday and were looking “awesome” ahead of their new season returns.
Chautauqua is also back in work for Hawkes Racing but at their Flemington base in Melbourne after staying on in Victoria for his spell.
The Encosta De Lago four-year-old most recently finished a close second behind one of the world’s highest-rated sprinters Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight on November 8.
Before his Group 1 debut in the Melbourne Cup Carnival classic the progressive and promising gelding won back-to-back Group races at the same track with a two and a half length win over Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) and a four length annihilation in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) in October.
In the Darley Classic Chautauqua got caught up between runners early but got out in time to switch over and just miss out on the trophy by a short-head.
Hawkes said the youngster would kick things off in Melbourne with a possible trip home to Sydney before the end of the autumn for a possible shot at the $2.5 million Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 4 during The Championships.
“He spelled in Melbourne so begins his preparation down there, but again, could end up racing in Sydney, it all depends on how he’s coming along,” Hawkes explained.
Plans are to keep the autumn campaigns of he and fellow top line sprinter Deep Field as separate as possible for as long as possible, the stable preferring for their runners not to come up against each other under race conditions.
“We don’t like racing our horses against each other, so it will be a matter of keeping an eye on all of them, assessing where they are at and what races they are going to target,” Hawkes said.
“If they end up having to clash at some stage then so be it, but until that point we will endeavour to keep them apart.”
Northern Meteor stallion Deep Field meanwhile remains undefeated from his five career runs thanks to a stellar spring that concluded on Derby Day with a one length victory over Gai Waterhouse’s mare Driefontein in the Group 2 TAB.Com.Au Stakes (1200m).
“He’s all grown up,” Hawkes said.
“He’s done really well during his spell.
“Obviously we’ve kept an eye on him while he’s been out but now to have him back in the stable – yeah he looks awesome.”
Mossfun also came back to base on Monday after a virus ruled the star Mossman filly out of the entire spring carnival.
A winner of four of her five starts so far, her only loss was to Blue Diamond winning filly Earthquake in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill back on March 22.
She atoned for that loss a fortnight later however, the four length Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes champ completing a coveted double with her three-quarter length success over Darley-owned Earthquake in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 5.
Already having amassed over $2.5 million in prize money, Mossfun has now recovered from the virus she contracted back in August and looks set for a good return.
“I can tell you she looks awesome as well,” Hawkes said.
“We have no definite plans for her, just see how she goes with either Melbourne or Sydney her kick-off point.”
The team are also looking forward to the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with the currently spelling Our Boy Malachi to target the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben Racecourse on June 6.
A winner of 16 of his 18 starts to date, including all three for his new trainers since November 1, the former Rockhampton-trained Top Echelon six-year-old was last seen beating home Dothraki by two and a half lengths in the Listed Thoroughbred Breeders Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on December 13.
“He’s big, strong and powerful,” Hawkes said.
“The owners are from Queensland and left it up to us, but if ever a horse deserved a crack at a Group I Stradbroke, it’s this bloke.”