Some sage advice from an old master and a clever ride by a young jockey have helped Sir John Hawkwood break through for a Group One win at Randwick.
A relative newcomer to John Thompson’s Randwick stable, Sir John Hawkwood had a familiar partner in jockey Blake Spriggs who steered him to decisive win in Saturday’s Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
Thompson honed his craft under the late Bart Cummings who told him they key to getting a horse ready for the Metropolitan was to top it off with a gallop at Kembla Grange on the Tuesday before the race.
Thompson did just that while 24-year-old Spriggs went over strategies in his head leading up to his biggest moment.
“I had Plan A, B and C and Plan A worked out so I didn’t have to go to the other two,” Spriggs said.
“I just have to pinch myself that it all worked out.
“To win a Group One race is such a thrill. To do it for (owner) Paul Fudge on this horse is even better,”
Antonio Giuseppe, one of six Chris Waller-trained stayers in the race, was the $3.60 favourite with Who Shot Thebarman and Sir John Hawkwood on the second line at $6.
Spriggs put Sir John Hawkwood in a handy position behind the leaders and made his move rounding the home turn.
The eight-year-old belied his age to work to the line strongly, holding off the favourite by 1-1/4 lengths.
It was Sir John Hawkwood’s second start for Thompson and he said he was still learning about him.
“I’m still getting to know him,” he said,.
“Blake does know him well and he comes and rides him and has been a big help.
“And I remembered Bart telling me that to win a Metropolitan you had to take the horses to Kembla in the week before and give them a gallop so I did that too.
“And his previous trainers have done a good job with him.”
Originally trained by Sir Michael Stoute in England, Sir John Hawkwood was brought to Australia by Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds.
His new career stated with Craig Ritchie, then he went to Peter Moody and David Vandyke before finding his way to Thompson when the latter moved his base to Queensland.
Spriggs formed an association with Fudge a couple of years ago and was thrilled to give his backer his first Australian Group One win.
“I’m hoping this is just the start,” Spriggs said.
“Hopefully the horse goes to the Caulfield Cup. We can only dream but at the moment the dream is coming true.”