Niwot is the first automatic entry is into the 2011 Melbourne Cup field and he’s come into it from a completely new route.
The winner of the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington gains direct entry into the Melbourne Cup this year in a move that’s massively added to the interest of the race.
All up 16 horses fronted for the event and the speed was good early on and they were quickly strung out across the course.
In reality the quality of entries probably wasn’t overly impressive and when Niwot crossed the line at least four horses had been pulled up with 400m spanning first to last.
It was still an interesting contest up front though with Im Jake putting in a very brave performance to lead by a length all the way onto the home straight.
Once he straightened he didn’t slow up either and he lost Hiphopopotamus which couldn’t handle the journey.
There were plenty of runs available but few had the legs left over until Niwot came down the middle on the field with good pace.
He deserved the win and with the exception of Im Jake he’s the only horse who looked like genuinely handling the trip and had the ticker to feature in a Melbourne Cup field.
It’ll take massive improvements to be a contender in the spring but he has the time to improve and considering what he’s overcome it’s not something you’d put past him.
Niwot smashed his knee a couple of years ago and owners were told he’d never race again.
They chose to persevere though and it’s paid off big time with a Melbourne Cup runner early on for the Hawkes training team.
Norsqui managed to run home third in a solid run with a big gap back to Grand Ducal in fourth.