Neil Dyer’s gallant old galloper Hawks Bay defied the odds on Monday night to win the 2012 Darwin Cup for the second year on the trot, the seven-year-old breaking a weight carrying record to do so.
After finishing second in both the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Northern Territory’s premier race, 12 months ago the Black Hawk gelding carried an imposing 62kg to victory in the $185,000 Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (2000m).
Last year they put a minimum four lengths on their rivals, but yesterday there was only a nose in it as they recorded back-to-back Darwin Cup wins in a courageous effort thanks in part to a masterful ride by jockey Steven Arnold.
Having been allocated a massive 64.5kg even their Kyneton-based trainer had doubts leading into the Darwin Cup, doubts that weren’t relinquished until the final stride.
After a tight two horse battle to the line with the $3.10 favourite Bolton over the final 150-metres, Hawks Bay ($9) eventually won by the bob of their head – their sixth win at the Fannie Bay track.
Finishing off the winning Darwin Cup trifecta was then Bolton’s Metric Mile winning stablemate Sheahan ($5.50) who finished a distant six and a quarter lengths off the winner.
While the crowd and Hawks Bays’ connections were kept on the edge of their seat throughout, Arnold had the most nail biting ride of all.
“I thought I was gone, I knew he would fight but I thought the other horse just had a bit more momentum than me,” Arnold said after the win.
“He just fought his heart out. I didn’t know if I got the bob, but I’m pretty thrilled.
“I had him in a pretty good spot and he travelled good in the race.
“Nothing was taking me into it so I had to come out and roll with the big weight.
“I knew I would be vulnerable at the 100-metres but when Bolton got up to him he just fought his heart out.”
Dyer was also thrilled with the Darwin Cup result, one he said was well-deserved after Hawks Bay’s determination on race day and hard work in the lead-up.
“This is very satisfying,” Dyer said.
“We’ve had problems (this prep), we’ve been working on him until the last minute to try and get him here and when you do all that and it comes off, it’s very satisfying.
“I thought it was gallant and on the line I thought we might have just got beat, I wouldn’t have been disappointed anyway because the horse just tried his guts out.”
“Fantastic ride by Steven. It was just a bob of the heads and we got the bob in at the right time.”
Check out the full Darwin Cup 2012 results in the table below.
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2012 Darwin Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||HAWKS BAY||Neil Dyer||Steven Arnold||–||1||64.5kg||$9|
|2||3||BOLTON (NZ)||Stephen Brown||Stephen Baster||0.1L||5||57kg||$3.10F|
|3||6||SHEAHAN||Stephen Brown||Scott Hillebrand||6.4L||6||55.5kg||$5.50|
|4||11||SEA SKYE (USA)||Bevan Laming||Ms Jan Cameron||8.9L||10||54kg||$19|
|5||13e||CLUB LIQUID||Dick Leech||Ben Hoppo||9.1L||8||54kg||$31|
|6||7||GLARE||Louis Paech||Carl Spry||10.1L||7||54.5kg||$4.80|
|7||10||INTO THE SUN||Malcolm Carson||Michael L Evans||11.4L||2||54kg||$51|
|8||4||PALMYRA BOY||Neil Dyer||Adam Nicholls||11.9L||3||57kg||$51|
|9||5||SYREON||Jason Manning||Ms Vanessa Arnott||15.4L||9||57kg||$18|
|10||9||I AM MAGIC||Kerry Petrick||Phillip Crich||17.2L||11||54kg||$21|
|11||8||THE THIRD BASEMAN||Malcolm Carson||Dom Tourneur||21.2L||4||54.5kg||$17|
|–||2||BLACKBRIAR||Melinda Boothby||Paul Shiers||–||0||–||–|
|–||12||THE RUFFIAN||Sheila Arnold||Jason Maskiell||–||0||–||–|