John Hawkes' uncanny ability to select a yearling is matched only by his exceptional training capabilities. This season has borne out the brilliance of Team Hawkes (John, plus sons Michael and Wayne) after their succession of winning juveniles, which augurs well for the big autumn group 1 features.
Wins by Nostradamus, Mossfun, Invisible and Bugatty, followed by Gold Force in the $250,000 Inglis Premier at Mornington on Wednesday on debut, show the strength of the Hawkes youngsters.
And there's still plenty more to come before the Golden Slipper.
Gold Force made a one-act affair of the Mornington race, showing great speed after a tardy start to take the lead and never being in danger of losing
Gold Force was a $140,000 Melbourne Premier sale buy. The youngster is a three-quarter brother to Mentality, one of Hawkes' proven performers which won three group 1 races over the Randwick metric mile – the Champagne Stakes, Randwick Guineas and George Main Stakes.
Wayne Hawkes said after Wednesday's win, Gold Force was one of three yearlings bought by a Perth syndicate who provided Team Hawkes with $500,000 to buy several yearlings, finishing with three lots for a $480,000 outlay.
He won $150,000 at Mornington and is certain to win city races on the strength of his Wednesday run.
“We gelded Gold Force, as we did with Mentality, and this proved all the difference to him, and it appears as if it has helped Gold Force, who is an absolute lovely horse to handle," he said.
One of the two-year-olds Bloodlines is super keen to see in action from the Hawkes line-up is Emaratee, one of the trainer's 12 second acceptors for the Slipper.
Emaratee is by Fastnet Rock from River Dove and was a $4 million buy for Emirates Park at last year's Inglis Easter sales, second only to the Black Caviar relation which fetched $5 million.
The colt has been in full training for a couple of months and is gearing up for his first trial as he heads towards a Golden Slipper path.
The Hawkes also have another Fastnet Rock two-year-old making her debut this weekend – Lady Sharapova runs at Flemington in the Talindert Stakes. She was an $800,000 Easter yearling and there are strong reports about her.
Team Hawkes' other two-year-old runner at Flemington is Bugatty which takes on the older gallopers in the group 1 Lightning Stakes over 1000 metres. He's a speedster on a huge assignment.
Another juvenile contender for Team Hawkes is at Randwick in the Widden Stakes – Mossfun, owned by the same connections as Emaratee and out to keep her unbeaten record intact after her Inglis Nursery win at Randwick on December 14 that netted $168,000.
Mossfun trialled strongly at Rosehill 10 days ago and the Mossman filly has the ability to go a step closer to earning a Slipper start in the Widden.
Nostradamus' eye-catching fourth in the Blue Diamond Prelude behind Rubick last Saturday enhanced his prospects for the “final” on Saturday week. He rattled home after having a tough run from his outside (16) alley and is a very impressive individual which will be a force to reckon with in group 1 company over the next two months.
DANEHILL'S PROGENY CARRY ON GOOD WORK
The Australian stallions premiership once again illustrates the almighty Down Under performances of Danehill. The five stallions at the top of the list are descendants of Danehill. Snitzel, a son of Redoute's Choice, is leading the premiership clearly with earnings of $5,852,797. Fastnet Rock, Exceed and Excel, Commands and Redoute's Choice are running second, third, fourth and fifth and are all sons of Danehill. Monsun, the sire of last year's Melbourne Cup winner, Fiorente, is in sixth spot.
ANOTHER GALILEO FOAL FOR GOLDIKOVA
Champion French mare Goldikova gave birth to her second foal, a filly by Coolmore's No. 1 stallion Galileo, in Ireland last week. Goldikova, winner of 14 group 1 races, had a colt foal from her first mating, also with Galileo, which has been named Goldikovic by the Wertheimer family. No prize for guessing what stallion the mare is to be covered by this year. Another significant foaling took place in Japan on Sunday when 2011 Australian Derby and Guineas winner Shamrocker gave birth to a filly by the country's champion stallion Deep Impact.
TIME CALLED FOR DOLL
US speedster Groupie Doll, a $US3.1 million ($3.47m) purchase by America's big-spending owner Mandy Pope, bowed out of racing in a blaze of glory in the group 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park last Sunday. To be covered by Tapit this season, Groupie Doll came from last in the 1400m race to score easily and take her record to 12 wins and eight placings from 23 races, and $US2,648,850 in earnings.