Father and sons training team John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes have their eyes on a the famous spring cups double this upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with horses being targeted for both the Caulfield Cup and 2012 Melbourne Cup.
The first leg of the lucrative spring cups double is the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), Michael Hawkes confirming their Australian Derby runner-up Polish Knight was on track for a shot at the iconic handicap.
Encosta De Lago three-year-old Polish Knight has won two of their six career starts to date, their biggest win being over Rekindled Alliance in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day, April 7.
They backed up the following Saturday to run a devastatingly close second to Ethiopia in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick before being turned out for a well-earned rest.
Due back in work this week Polish Knight will return next season with the Caulfield Cup their grand final goal.
“Polish Knight comes back to the stable this week and the Caulfield Cup will be a target for him,” Hawkes said.
The 2012 Caulfield Cup is set to run on Saturday October 20 and is a predecessor for the other major spring cup, the world famous $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Last year the Hawkes-trained Galileo gelding Niwot, ‘To Win’ spelt backwards, was the best finishing of the Australian-bred stayers in the Melbourne Cup.
After running 12th to Southern Speed in the Caulfield Cup Niwot qualified for the ‘race that stops a nation’ with an impressive three length victory in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
Going out as an $8 chance in the Melbourne Cup betting markets Niwot was far from disgraced when finishing just four lengths away eighth to the imported winner Dunaden.
They returned for a big five run autumn campaign in Melbourne and Sydney which culminated with their factory over 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 28.
Also run over the two-miles the Melbourne Cup 2012 is set to run as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 6 and Hawkes has confirmed that it will again be the spring aim for veteran seven-year-old Niwot.
“Niwot is back (in the stables) a week later (than Polish Knight) and will go to the Melbourne Cup again,” he said.
In the latest Melbourne Cup odds Niwot is rated a $31 chance through bookmaker.com.au, markets led by the past two Melbourne Cup winners with Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) paying $19.
View the full futures markets for both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup online at bookmaker.com.au today.
New to sign-up and deposit with bookmaker.com.au? Quote the limited time only codeword BONUSBET when you do to also enjoy a juicy $300 Bonus Welcome Bet to use on a race of your choice!