Hall of Fame trainer John Hawkes and New Zealand-bred horses are a pretty formidable combination.
On Saturday, Hawkes and his sons Wayne and Michael saddled up Kiwi-bred colt Brutal for an emphatic win in the $3 million Group One Doncaster Mile.
A son of champion stallion O’Reilly, Brutal was purchased out of the 2017 Premier Sale at Karaka by Hawkes Racing for $220,000.
It continued a proud recent record for Karaka graduates in the Doncaster, with Sacred Falls (NZ) (O’Reilly) winning it in 2013 and 2014 and Kermadec (NZ) (Teofilo) in 2015. Both of those horses now stand at stud.
“Hawkes Racing has a great record when it comes to finding a good horse at the New Zealand sale,” said Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“The best buy John Hawkes made in New Zealand was in 1994 when he bought a Zabeel colt from Sir Patrick Hogan on behalf of Bob and Jack Ingham.
“That colt was Octagonal who was second in the Golden Slipper at two and won the Group One Sires Produce Stakes at his next start,” said Grant Morgan.
Octagonal retired to stud after 28 starts with a record of 14 wins (10 Group 1), 7 seconds (6 in GI or GII races) and a third. He ended his racing career with a stakes tally of A$5,892,231, the highest of any galloper in Australasia to that point.
“Over the years, John and his sons have handled the careers of many of Australia’s best racehorses and their skill was on show in the Doncaster when Brutal scored at only his seventh career start.
“He’s now had four wins and two placings from his seven runs and it was that ability to identify the talent in a young horse and get the best out of it that led Ontrack to partnering with Hawke Racing at this year’s Premier Sale at Karaka.
“We bought a lovely So You Think colt out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Saint Angers and he’s getting broken in by young Jacob McKay in New Zealand and will head over the Tasman during the winter.
“The So You Think cross with Redoute’s Choice mares produced Group One winning colt Inference for Hawkes Racing and this colt will get every chance with the stable.
“Having bases in Sydney and Melbourne is a great plus with Hawkes Racing and Brutal has benefitted from that having started in Victoria before shifting to their Rosehill base,” said Grant Morgan.