Niwot for Blamey Stakes
07 Mar 2012 | Last week’s devastating rainfall across NSW has cost the Canberra Cup one of its star attractions with Team Hawkes opting to pull Lexus Stakes winner Niwot from the race.
The much loved seven-year-old stayer was nominated for the $200,000, listed Canberra Cup (2000m) earlier this week but will not be risked on a rain-affected Thoroughbred Park, despite the track slowly drying out this week.
He will contest the$200,000, Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday instead, in preparation for a tilt at the $500,000, Group 1, Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) next month.
Wayne Hawkes, head of the team’s Flemington operation, had no interest in driving eight hours to strike a potentially wet track.
“Canberra’s a heavy 10 isn’t it,” Hawkes said.
“You won’t get as many good horses as you’d hope for because the track is so wet.
“We’ve had meetings and stuff called off [in Victoria] it’s been a mess.”
Should the track dry out sufficiently, team Hawkes will still be chasing the Canberra Cup with well-travelled Zabeel gelding Rainbow Styling.
The seven-year-old has been at the Hawkes’ Sydney stable all week in preparation for the race, but his immediate fate still hasn’t been decided.
“We want to run him but I don’t know,” Hawkes said.
“We took him to Sydney with the view of going to Canberra, but I doubt whether he’ll be going on this heavy 10.
“Let’s hope [it dries out], I’d still like to come.”
Should Rainbow Styling run on Sunday, it’ll be the fourth state he’s jumped in this campaign.
He resumed at Rosehill on New Year’s Eve running sixth, before winning an open handicap at Caulfield.
Last start he ran eighth in the Hobart Cup.
“He’s going bloody good too the bugger,” Hawkes said.
“He went good in the Hobart Cup and he never handled the track, he never got around the tight circumference and only got beat two and a half lengths I think.
“We wanted to come but we’d be very very doubtful at this stage because there’s too much wet down there.”
Acceptances for the Cup will be taken tomorrow morning and last year’s Caulfield Cup third placegetter, Gai Waterhouse stayer Tullamore, is expected to be confirmed as a starter.
Meanwhile, the recent rain looks to have curtailed what was originally going to be a busy weekend at Warwick Farm for Team Hawkes.
Gopana, who will run in the Wiggle Stakes (1400m), was the powerful stable’s only acceptance in Sydney.
Happy Zero had been nominated for the Liverpool City Cup (1300m) but will not run while Stratford will be spelled.
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