Veteran stayer Sir John Hawkwood makes his new season debut and has his first run for trainer John Thompson this Saturday in Sydney’s Kingston Town Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.
Formerly prepared by David Vandyke, the consistent son of Sir Percy was transferred to the care of Thompson when Vandyke relocated to Queensland at the end of last season.
Thompson has welcomed the eight-year-old gelding into his Randwick stables with open arms and is excited about the evergreen warhorse’s chances of success this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
“I’m still learning about him,” Thompson told Racenet this week.
“I’m being a bit guided by what young [jockey] Blake [Spriggs] is saying about him because he knows him really well and he’s telling me how good he feels.”
The long-term aim is to have the European import peaking for a possible October 1 run at Royal Randwick in the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) over the mile and a half on Epsom Handicap Day.
That elite level assignment will be dependent on how the horse handles his early spring aims starting on Golden Rose Stakes Day in the $125,000 Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) this Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what he does on Saturday,” Thompson said.
“The team at Waratah has done a really good job with him.
“When he arrived at my place he was in great order, ready to go and he hasn’t disappointed. He’s a happy horse.”
Sir John Hawkwood was last seen running a brave second when only a quarter-length off the winner Benzini at Eagle Farm on June 11 in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
That was his sixth top three run on the trot dating back to November last year and showed he still had a good zest for racing.
His latest turf triumph came first-up at Rosehill Gardens when narrowly defeating Messene in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m).
He is first-up at the Rosehill track again this weekend at the same distance on the back of a good second to stablemate First Seal in a 1200m Randwick trial from Monday run in the wet.
It looks a nice form line to follow into the Kingston Town Stakes then according to Thompson who is tipping a top return from the galloper.
“You’d have to have been impressed with his two trials but being a staying type he’ll naturally improve out of the run on Saturday,” he said.
“Everything I see from him tells me he’s a horse that always gives you 100 percent so if he’s feeling well, which I think he is, he’s going to run well.
“He’s an eight-year-old now but I’m expecting him to run a really nice race on Saturday.”
Early favourite in the pre-field Kingston Town Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is the John O’Shea-trained Allergic ($2.90).
The Street Cry five-year-old has strong form over the distance (8-3-3-0) and was beaten under one and half lengths last start on August 27 when fifth to Sense Of Occasion in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1900m) at the track.
Sir John Hawkwood is also at single-figures currently paying $6.50.
See below for the full futures Kingston Town Stakes 2016 odds, fixed win pricing to be released post-final field acceptances at Ladbrokes.com.au on Wednesday.