Traitor capped off a stellar day for Team Hawkes by upsetting Guelph to win the 2014 Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
The Hawkes team had already taken out both the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) and Group 3 Sky High Stakes (1900m), with Messene and Entirely Platinum respectively, and Traitor gave them a Group race triple with his maiden win at Group 1 level.
Traitor hit the front with 300 metres left in front and looked as though he could be a sitting duck when Guelph was asked for an extra effort, but the Mossman gelding kicked strongly in the final stages of the race to score a comfortable win.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said that the team had patiently brought Traitor through the grades and could not have been happier with the effort of the three-year-old in his first opportunity at Group level.
“It has been a great day,” Hawkes said.
“It has been a long time coming; this horse has started to put the paint on the wall and to do what he has done he is well out of his depth.”
Team Hawkes has been the form stable of the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival to date and have a number of strong chances heading towards the The Championships; with Messene set to start as one of the favourites in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.
Wayne Hawkes believes that the stables success has been the result of a great deal of hard work and be said the patience they have shown with a number of talented gallopers is starting to bear fruit.
“It was something that we have spoken about a fair while ago,” Wayne Hawkes said.
“To get into these better races you have to go around the backdoor and we have actually concentrated on the likes of Messene and Mecir, who every odd week have been winning a race.
“It is great for us and it is great for the owners and great for the punters and you get into these bigger races coming the back way as opposed to a Not Listen’intome going straight to the top.
“We have some nice ones.”
Brenton Avdulla was given the tricky assignment of steering Traitor to victory from an outside barrier in the Phar Lap Stakes and admitted that he thought he may have got it wrong when the three-year-old hit the front at the 300 metre mark.
“I could feel Michael and John (Hawkes) strangling me there at the 300 when I cruised up and hit the front a bit early,” Avdulla said.
“I was able to find a nice enough spot, but what I gathered from him the other day is that he has a high cruising speed and he can sort of lengthen off it from the 700 metres.
“When they wanted to play games coming around the corner I elected to get on my bike and get him into a rhythm.
“As soon as they got round him, he was off and running again.”
Guelph had every opportunity to return to the winners circle, but was no match for Traitor in the concluding stages of the race and it is clear that she has been able to recapture the form that saw her take out the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.