The Robert Hickmott-trained Fawkner is onto the Cox Plate in a fortnight after an impressive Group 1 spring win in the Caulfield Stakes 2014 on Guineas Day.
Winner of last year’s Caulfield Cup the now seven-year-old Reset gelding was second-up in this afternoon’s $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and was given a lovely ride by owner Lloyd Williams’ godson Nick Hall.
Hall settled Fawkner just off the pace, the galloper getting a lovely run in transit moving up to fourth heading towards the home turn before racing up with 150m left to travel running them down.
On the line Fawkner ($5.50) was able to hold off a fast finishing Criterion ($16) who also looks to be building ahead of the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 after making up lots of late ground having been well back with 600m left to go.
Finishing off the Caulfield Stakes trifecta a further two lengths away in third was then the Andrew Balding-trained UK raider Side Glance ($26) who was terrific on the speed, allowed to roll along out front and lead throughout and who jumped at an easing price for the eight-year-old’s spring debut.
“Every time I get on this horse, no matter how nervous I am…he fills me with confidence,” Hall said post-win on TVN.
“He races perfect and that shows me he’s ready for the big races and further in distance too.
“(Bring on the Cox Plate) absolutely!”
Co-owner and son of Lloyd, Nick Williams was quick to praise the ride from Hall after the win.
“It was a wonderful ride,” he said.
“Nick knew what he was doing.
“The horse is flying and it’s a great credit to dad, he’s done a wonderful job with this horse.
“Dad’s taken him along slowly…we’re really seeing the benefits of that now.”
Pre-Caulfield Stakes Fawkner, who now boasts three wins and a second form four starts at Caulfield, was one of the top three in the futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, a price set to firm after his good win today.
“Hopefully he can win that elusive Cox Plate in a fortnight’s time,” Williams said.
“I think he is (going better now than ever before). What he’s shown today and what he showed over a mile at Flemington (in the Makybe Diva Stakes).
“He’s taken that necessary step from a handicap to being a genuine weight-for-age horse and that’s really exciting to have one of those in the stable.”
Fawkner improved on a first-up second behind the Peter Moody-trained Dissident in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Dissident failing to run out the distance today.
A triple Group 1 winner, four-year-old Dissident bled in today’s Caulfield Stakes and has an automatic three month ban from racing so won’t be there on Cox Plate Day.
Connections are also looking at the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Fawkner after the Cox Plate this spring, the $6.2 million Group 1 two mile handicap running at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“We’re just hoping he can put his best foot forward at the Valley which I think he will,” Williams said.
“And then maybe even press onto Flemington with a bit of luck (for the Melbourne Cup).”
History is against him as only five horses in the past nine decades have completed the Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup double, Makybe Diva in 2005 the last when she entered the history books with her third win in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
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2014 Caulfield Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 6 – 11/10/2014
|1||3||FAWKNER||Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||–||4||59kg||$5.50|
|2||9||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Hugh Bowman||0.2L||3||58kg||$16|
|3||2||SIDE GLANCE (GB)||Andrew Balding||Jamie Spencer||1.95L||5||59kg||$26|
|4||1||SACRED FALLS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Zac Purton||2.45L||12||59kg||$6|
|5||4||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Damien Oliver||2.75L||6||59kg||$6.50|
|6||10||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||2.95L||8||58kg||$4F|
|7||11||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||Jim Cassidy||3.95L||1||57kg||$9|
|8||5||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||4.95L||10||59kg||$14|
|9||6||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||Craig Williams||5.7L||7||59kg||$41|
|10||8||MASSIYN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Steven King||6.95L||2||59kg||$151|
|11||12||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||John Sargent||Tommy Berry||7.35L||9||56kg||$31|
|12||7||CRACKERJACK KING (IRE)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||14.35L||11||59kg||$19|