Derby Day 2016: Team Hawkes out to add to group 1 spring at Flemington

Ready to shine: Star Turn is in great shape to take on the best in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Photo: Bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛
Nanjing Night Net

Team Hawkes started the spring with a sprinter, a miler and a couple of stayers looking for group 1 glory. They have already banked the Caulfield Guineas with Divine Prophet and will look to add a Victoria Derby and Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

“We just try to have our horses right for the right races and are lucky enough to have a couple of good ones,” said John Hawkes, who trains Derby hopes Swear and Inference and Coolmore prospect Star Turn in partnership with sons Michael and Wayne.

“We were looking towards Saturday with them from the start of the preparation. It would be nice to get another group 1 but they are tough to win.”

No trainer has been able to knock off the Guineas, Derby and Coolmore in the same year since the Coolmore Stud Stakes moved in 2006, but Hawkes’ stable could give it a decent shot on Saturday.

While the Derby has been the long-held blue riband event and is the naming race of Saturday’s card, the highlight of the opening day of the Flemington carnival will be the Coolmore Stud Stakes as a talented group of three-year-olds battle it out down the straight 1200 metres.

Capitalist, Extreme Choice and Astern have already won the Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond and Golden Rose respectively with Extreme Choice adding the Moir Stakes to his group 1 haul on his spring return.

But the Hawkes stable will depend on Star Turn, a flashy chestnut son of Star Witness, to beat them. He is a powerfully built colt, which won the San Domenico Stakes, before a close second to Astern in the Run to Rose, leading to a decision to target this race. He won the Schillaci Stakes against the older sprinters at Caulfield last start and Hawkes believes he is up to the group 1 three-year-olds.

“He was very strong against the older horses and is already a group 2 but this is the race we have targeted,” Hawkes said. “It is why we programmed him the way we did, and this is the race for him to become a stallion.

“Being down the straight adds a little more to the race because they have to handle that, but we are happy with [Star Turn]. He has done well since Caulfield.”

Hawkes’ son Wayne quipped “[Dad] doesn’t give away too much does he.”

But while the Hall of Fame trainer kept his cards close to his chest, there is satisfaction in being a major player on Saturday.

It is an example of the strength of the Hawkes yard that they arrive with three colts in the biggest three-year-old races of the spring and all could secure lucrative stud careers with victory on Saturday.

Swear carries a group 1 second behind Yankee Rose in the Spring Champion Stakes into the Derby, while Inference put together three wins before a fourth in the Stutt Stakes and third in the Caulfield Classic.

“They have both got there doing the right things, but like all the Derby horses they have to run 2500m and you don’t really know if they can do that until Saturday,” Hawkes said.

“Swear is a nice colt and has had the right preparation to get ready to for the trip and Inference is the same. We are happy with them both and they will run good races.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.