Trainer David Vandyke is considering the two miles of the Sydney Cup 2016 second-up on April 9 for his rising eight-year-old Sir John Hawkwood after the galloper’s fresh win in the $350,000 Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.
First-up off a 71 day spell the veteran stayer enjoyed a perfectly timed ride from jockey Blake Spriggs in the Sky High Stakes in the first on Coolmore Classic Day at Rosehill Gardens.
Jumping from the inside alley the son of Sir Percy sat back off the pace set by the Team Hawkes-trained Messene who Tommy Berry rode into the lead ahead of Chris Waller’s Melbourne Cup placegetter and Sydney Cup runner-up last autumn Who Shot Thebarman.
Who Shot Thebarman was being ridden much closer to the speed than his previous two runs this time in, while Sir John Hawkwood was trailing the leaders being cuddled in fourth.
Messene was allowed to free stride setting a reasonable pace with Who Shot Thebarman poised on his outside, Sir John Hawkwood still trailing nicely in fourth along the rails behind Destiny’s Kiss who was travelling third.
Around the bend Christian Reith squeezed up on the outside with the well-backed Who Shot Thebarman putting the pressure on, while Destiny’s Kiss looked under the pump.
Sir John Hawkwood ($5.50) was enjoying a cheeky race and moved off the fence in the closing stages to challenge the nearly all-the-way winner, driving through late to get there a nose in front of Messene ($4).
Who Shot Thebarman ($4.40) held on for third to finish off the Sky High Stakes trifecta.
It was a gun training performance from Vandyke to get the imported Sir John Hawkwood set for the set for the 2000m win first-up, the galloper’s last start a second to Vilanova in Randwick’s Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2400m) back on New Year’s Day.
“He’s had a bit of time off but the more you get to know the horse, the less work he needs,” Vandyke said post-win.
“He’s a horse that needs to be super fresh.
“He likes to chase and we decided before the race (today) he wasn’t going to get there till late.
“He had it set till the second almost.”
Vandyke said the big aim would be a Royal Randwick run on April 9 in the $2 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and that the horse was unlikely to have another run in between should they target the two mile classic.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to take him to the Sydney Cup over the two miles second-up,” he said.
“He’s one of those real Europeans that can do it without much racing.”
The other possible second-up assignment is the $300,000 Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) the week before the Sydney Cup, a final decision depending on how Sir John Hawkwood pulls through his first-up Rosehill win.
“We were always going to set this horse towards the Sydney Cup or the Chairman’s Handicap,” Vanydke said.
“He’s an older horse but mentally he just wants to get out there and do it.”
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2016 Sky High Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 1 – 12/03/2016
|1||7||SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (IRE)||David Vandyke||Blake Spriggs||–||1||55kg||$5|
|2||5||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||0.1L||4||56.5kg||$4EF|
|3||2||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Christian Reith||1.1L||3||58kg||$4.20|
|4||6||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Kerrin McEvoy||1.4L||2||55kg||$7|
|5||4||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||2.4L||5||58kg||$14|
|6||3||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||John O’Shea||Brenton Avdulla||3L||6||58kg||$4EF|
|–||8||PEMBERLEY (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Brett Prebble||–||0||–||–|
|–||1||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||0||–||–|