Jockey Blake Spriggs enjoyed his maiden Group 1 winning ride on Epsom Handicap Day at Royal Randwick with John Thompson’s recent stable acquisition Sir John Hawkwood taking out The Metropolitan 2016 second-up.
An eight-year-old son of Sir Percy formerly prepared by a host of other trainers including Peter Moody, Sir John Hawkwood had just his second start for local horseman Thompson in the $750,000 Group 1 ATC Metropolitan Handicap (2400m).
His first-up run produced a second in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill and three weeks later the evergreen gelding enjoyed his first elite level success in the mile and a half Sydney Spring Racing Carnival classic.
Race favourite Antonio Giuseppe missed the kick and settled mid-field, Chris Waller’s in-form Shocking four-year-old on the quick back-up after posting his fourth win on the trot over 2000m at Rosehill last Saturday.
He quickly made up ground getting into fourth as stablemate Storm The Stars revved up early to take the lead and the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Dee I Cee rolled up into second from Sir John Hawkwood.
Jockey Brenton Avdulla got up on the speed aboard Storm The Stars who quickened heading towards the turn for home.
Rival hoop Glen Boss also got going making a move on 51kg lightweight Antonio Giuseppe who was three wide, while the John O’Shea-trained Colin Stephen Quality winner from last Saturday Allergic moved from midfield needing luck to get into the race.
On the straight Storm The Stars was quickly taken by the flying Sir John Hawkwood who had been given the perfect ride from his regular jockey Spriggs, with plenty of chasers coming for him.
The old warhorse held off the challengers and on the line Sir John Hawkwood ($6.50) held a clear margin from the beaten favourite Antonio Giuseppe ($3.70) as Allergic ($8.50) finished off The Metropolitan trifecta in third.
A top second-up horse, Sir John Hawkwood enjoyed his fourth success from seven runs two in to date in a massive effort over the distance that he now boasts three wins from seven starts over.
“Amazing, best day of my life,” winning hoop Spriggs said post-race.
“It’s very much a team thing. They’ve got him 110% today. Full credit to John.
“He [Sir John Hawkwood] came out beautifully, he won the jump and I got him exactly where I wanted to be.
“I just gave him a bit of a squeeze to make sure I could push out when I wanted to and he really dashed.
“What a horse.”
Thompson described Sir John Hawkwood as a “marvellous old horse” and gave the credit to his previous trainers for having him in such top condition.
“To get an older horse like this, I think I’m his fifth trainer, he’s in great condition and it’s credit to my predecessors,” he said.
“I don’t know him that well, I haven’t had him long, but I’ve just been listening to Blake who knows him.
“He told me to keep him fresh and it was always the plan to go second-up into this.
“It fell into place…a big thrill.
“He’s not a big, flash horse but he’s a horse that gives you 150%.”
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2016 The Metropolitan Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 8 – 01/10/2016
|1||5||SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (IRE)||John P Thompson||Blake Spriggs||–||6||54kg||$6|
|2||12||ANTONIO GIUSEPPE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||1.3L||5||51kg||$3.60F|
|3||8||ALLERGIC||John O’Shea||Michael Dee (a)||1.4L||2||51.5kg||$8.50|
|4||7||SACRED MASTER (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||1.6L||12||53kg||$12|
|5||9||SENSE OF OCCASION||Kris Lees||Corey Brown||2.3L||13||51kg||$41|
|6||6||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||2.6L||10||53.5kg||$15|
|7||1||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3.4L||8||57kg||$6|
|8||11||DEE I CEE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Kerrin McEvoy||4.3L||7||51kg||$9|
|9||3||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||4.8L||1||54.5kg||$21|
|10||4||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||John O’Shea||Tim Clark||5.7L||3||54.5kg||$16|
|11||13||QUARTERMASTER||Paul Perry||Ms Kathy O’Hara||9.2L||9||51kg||$151|
|12||10||AMEXED (NZ)||Tony Gollan||Johan Victoire||9.9L||11||51kg||$101|
|13||2||STORM THE STARS (USA)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||14.5L||4||55.5kg||$17|