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Beaten favourite in the ‘race that stops a nation’ two years ago, Maluckyday is back in work ready to return this spring for a shot at the 2012 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Zabeel gelding was the most talked about horse heading into the 2010 Melbourne Cup after winning their three lead up races including the Group 3 The Lexus Stakes (2500m).
Getting into the Melbourne Cup field with just 51kg on their back, the then young gun lost few admirers when they ran a slashing second behind champion French galloper Americain.
Given a four month break they returned in the autumn last year but failed to finish better than fourth in their three runs.
Spring plans were then sent into disarray when Maluckyday suffered from a serious bout of pneumonia and was able to run just once in September when eighth to Trusting in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm.
Having been patient with the horse and given him plenty of time to recover, the Hawkes and connections are now confident that Maluckday will be right for a spring return to again target the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The untapped stayer is about a fortnight off a return according to Wayne Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his brother Michael and great father John.
“He’s still in the paddock but he’s about two weeks off going back into work for a Melbourne Spring Carnival tilt,” Hawkes said.
“We’ve done everything we possibly can for him and we’ve thrown everything bar the kitchen sink at him.
“He’s had a huge spell and he’s been out at Peter Morgan’s place, in the water walker and back out the paddock again and vice versa for the last six months.”
The Hawkes are also enjoying success in the staying ranks with rising eight-year-old Niwot, winner of the Sydney Cup last time out.
Niwot was the best finishing of the Australian horses in last year’s Melbourne Cup when four lengths away eighth to Dunaden, and is again set to target the iconic two mile feature.
“Generally the rule of thumb is the first week of June your good horses go back into work, he might wait until the second or third week of June, but he’ll go back in and do the water walker treatment that’s worked so successfully for him and come back for a Melbourne Cup,” Hawkes said of Niwot.
Pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting is already open at our preferred online bookie bookmaker.com.au with markets led by the horse that beat Maluckday back in 2010, Americain ($17).
The other top fancy is Peter Moody’s ace import Manighar ($18) who vies for their fourth Group 1 win this weekend in the Doomben Cup 2012 in Brisbane.
Set to be another import-dominated edition of the Melbourne Cup the next two shortest priced are also former internationals with Green Moon ($21) and Lucas Cranach ($21).
Not having raced for so long, Maluckyday can be found much further down the Melbourne Cup odds at a juicy $41 while Niwot pays $31.
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