Imported stayer Sir John Hawkwood will make his Australian racing debut in the Programmed Property Services Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on Sunday.
Sir John Hawkwood was purchased by the Waratah Thoroughbreds operation, owned by prominent New South Wales businessmen John Fudge, and joined the stable of Craig Ritchie after he competed during the 2013 Royal Ascot Meeting.
The Sir Percy gelding started his racing career with a dominant five lengths victory in a maiden at Windsor last May and went on to win the Racebets.Com Handicap (2011m) at Newmarket before ending his preparation with a fourth place finish in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap (2017m) at Newbury in October.
The four-year-old returned to the races with a strong victory in the Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap (2080m) and backed that performance up with another impressive win over a quality field in the Jorvik Handicap (2414m) at York.
He made his debut at Group level in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) at Royal Ascot in June but finished towards the tail of the field, behind Melbourne Cup contenders Dandino and Mount Athos, despite being well-backed in the lead-up to the race.
Sir John Hawkwood has been included in the entries for both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) but is currently well down the order of entry for both races after being allocated the weight of 50kg by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter.
Ritchie is yet to decide on the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival path for the imported galloper but the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 12, which offers the winner ballot exempt entry into the Caulfield Cup, is the most likely target for the gelding.
Sir John Hawkwood will need to perform well to start his Australian racing career with a win; with the Programmed Property Services Handicap drawing a strong field including consistent stayer Verdant, Leon Corstens-trained Supreme Warrior and last start winner Mintaro.
Sir John Hawkwood is currently available at Melbourne Cup odds of $151 at Ladbrokes Australia.
The Programmed Property Services Handicap is one of several exciting races taking part at Caulfield this Sunday and you can find the best odds for every event at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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