Hawkes aim to end Magic drought

4 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Fifteen years after Jamieson Valley's (Desert Prince {Ire}) success in the Magic Millions 3-year-old feature, Team Hawkes feel like they've got another serious contender for the $2 million 3YO Guineas on the Gold Coast next month.

In 2004, Jamieson Valley won the then $1m 3yo MM Trophy for John Hawkes and the Fleming family, one of the handful of horses that Hawkes trained outside of Crown Lodge in those days.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since that time and while John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes have tasted success on the rich Magic Millions raceday with the likes of Stratford (Stratum), Elle Lou (Snitzel) and Danrho (Lonhro), they haven't been successful in one of the big two races since.

Kapajack (Lonhro) could be the horse to change all that, having won narrowly but impressively after a wide run on debut at Rosehill on Saturday in a ratings race.

In what has been a long-term plan according to Michael Hawkes, the 3YO Guineas is firmly on Kapajack's agenda, despite the fact it will likely be only his third start.

"It’s always been the target for him. When you are offering $2 million, you are only 2 or 3 once for those sort of races. He's looking for the 1400m too, after watching him on Saturday the way he hit the line," Hawkes told Sky Racing Radio.

"He’ll have another run here in Sydney, more than likely over 1200m and that's the path we will take. He's a nice horse going forward with a bit of upside."

"When you've got the right horse you can do these things and he's the right horse." - Michael Hawkes

"When you've got the right horse you can do these things and he's the right horse."

He is on the fourth line of betting for the race after his debut.

Passed in at Easter

The fact Kapajack is eligible for the Magic Millions is only because he was passed in $40,000 short of his reserve price of $200,000 at the 2017 Easter Sale.

Riversdale re-offered him at the 2017 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale a couple of months later and he was knocked down to Hawkes Racing for $70,000.

A half-brother to stakes-placed Kapset (Reset), he is out of Kapala (Danehill Dancer), who is a half-sister to Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker.

Kapajack as a yearling

The patient approach

Team Hawkes have been very patient with him and had trialled him five times prior to his debut on Saturday.

"It’s just been immaturity. For anyone who would have seen him on Saturday, he's a magnificent looking horse." - Michael Hawkes

"It’s just been immaturity. For anyone who would have seen him on Saturday, he's a magnificent looking horse, he's big and burly, but he's a bit soft. He still hasn't really furnished into the horse that he will become," Hawkes said.

Wayne, Michael & John Hawkes

"A lot of people know with us that time is the essence and unfortunately in this day and age people don't allow them to give the patience that we do and they try and rush horses to get there."

"The owners have been great with this horse. They have let us do, like most of our clientele do, what we do best is try and get these horses to the races and perform at their best for raceday."

Hawkes said the stable feels Kapajack would improve greatly through that run, especially having laid in late in that race.

Aiming at Millions riches

He is one of five original nominations for the 3YO Guineas for Team Hawkes, while they have also nominated five for the 2YO Classic, only one of which, First Responder (Star Witness), has been to the racetrack having finished fifth at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Hawkes said they would likely take two or three horses in total to the Gold Coast, with their best 2-year-old's targeted towards the G1 Golden Slipper with one preparation in mind.

"Times have changed a bit now, it used to be pre-Christmas time once (where you stepped out 2-year-olds), whereas now, you can go and win Slippers with the Estijaabs and the Mossfuns on one prep," he said.