Rejuvenated Aussie bred stayer Niwot (7g Galileo x Too Darn Hot, by Noble Bijou) raced himself into the Melbourne Cup with a commanding three length win in the Group III VRC Lexus Stakes over 2500 metres at Flemington on Saturday.
Race favourite Green Moon (IRE) set a hot speed in front, but compounded in the run home with the Hawkes Racing trained gelding Niwot powering home to score a dominant victory with Dean Yendall in the saddle.
“That was a good effort,” said Wayne Hawkes.
“He was ridden patiently and his record at Flemington is outstanding.”
The Hawkes team won this race last year with Maluckyday, who went on to finish second to Americain (USA) in the Melbourne Cup, but Wayne Hawkes was reluctant to compare the two.
“It’s unfair to compare him to Maluckyday, who I would rate as one of the best horses we’ve had, right up there with Octagonal,” Hawkes said.
“This bloke is more tradesmanlike. He smashed a knee earlier in his career and spent 18 months in the wilderness and some of the vets said he’d never race again, so if he wins on Tuesday it will be quite a story.”
A $200,000 purchase from the Coolmore draft at the 2006 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Niwot is raced by a large group of owners including Andrew Ramsden and has won eight races and placed five times from 22 starts earning $591,825 in prizemoney.
Already proven over two miles at Flemington having won the Listed VRC Andrew Ramsden Stakes back in May, Niwot looms as a serious lightweight contender.
One of 97 flat stakes-winners worldwide for English Derby winner Galileo, Niwot is the sixth foal and first stakes-winner for his stakes-winning dam Too Darn Hot (NZ), a daughter of former top class NZ based sire Noble Bijou (USA). His next two dams are by Balmerino and Mellay (GB), so it’s no surprise he can run a trip.