Hawkes-trained veteran Niwot will take their next step towards a possible title defense in the prestigious Sydney Cup this weekend, the rising nine-year-old having been nominated for the 2013 Canberra Cup in the country’s capital for Thoroughbred Park’s Super Sunday.
One of the biggest races run in Canberra each year, this season’s edition of the $200,000 Listed Canberra Centenary Cup (2000m) attracted 23 nominations including a number of famed interstate Group 1 performers.
The high quality of entries could help boost the Canberra Cup from a Listed race to Group 3 status, Thoroughbred Park’s chief executive Peter Stubbs thrilled with the quality of this year’s nominations.
“The standard of the Cup has improved in recent years, but to have nominations such as Maluckyday, Niwot … is certainly a pleasant surprise,” Stubbs said on Monday.
“Horses of that nature that have been racing at group and listed level and performing well, it certainly adds to the status for the Canberra Cup being considered for higher rating.”
Among the headline nominees Stubbs refereed to is Galileo eight-year-old Niwot, winner of the Group 1 Sydney Cup over the two miles at Randwick last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
It was a stellar autumn for Niwot last year with other highlights including a fourth to Manighar in both the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes and The BMW at Rosehill.
Their spring however was a disappointing one that finished with a distant 15th to Green Moon in the iconic Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
They resumed off a three and a half month break on February 23 when sixth in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) behind crack colt All Too Hard, one position further back then their resuming run in the same race 12 months earlier.
Sunday they will look to progress from that run when they venture into uncharted territory with their Canberra debut.
Team Hawkes have also nominated for another of their Melbourne Cup runners with Malukckyday, the Zabeel gelding 19th in the ‘race that stops a nation’ this year but runner-up to Americain back in 2010.
Maluckyday also resumed in the Futurity finishing one better than their stablemate when fifth.
Other notable interstate visitors nominated for the Canberra Cup 2013 then include the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fast Clip and Anthony Cummings’ former SA Derby winner Shadows In The Sun.
As for the local hopes the best chance of keeping the Cup in town looks to be Cup Preview winner Asclepius who vies for their third straight win.
Also coming via the Cup Preview over the mile on February 24 are runner-up Micalong, third placed Natch Catch and fourth place-getter Coliseo.
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2013 Canberra Cup Nominations
Canberra Racecourse – 10/03/2013
|1||AGENT BAUER||Gwenda Markwell||72|
|2||AL AHMAR||Barbara Joseph & Paul Jones||70|
|4||AWARD SEASON (IRE)||Kris Lees||76|
|6||COURT CONNECTION||Danny Williams||–|
|7||DUBAI RULER||Mick J Smith||61|
|8||FAST CLIP||Gai Waterhouse||100|
|9||FROZEN ROPE||Adam Duggan||–|
|10||JIMMY FORTUNES||Michael Clout||–|
|11||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||–|
|13||NATCH CATCH||Nick Olive||79|
|14||NIWOT||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||–|
|17||SANTA FE CHIEF||Len Hodgson||56|
|18||SETTA ROCKS||Diane Poidevin-Laine||69|
|19||SHADOWS IN THE SUN||Anthony Cummings||–|
|20||SIALIA MAGIC||Neville Layt||54|
|22||STREET SPIRIT||Mick J Smith||66|
|23||TREMEC (NZ)||John P Thompson||69|