Hawkes thinks Spend can contend

The Hawkes stable already has its share of racetrack stars such as group 1 winners Exceedance and Brutal, but there could be another horse from the yard that joins that elite pair in the headlines this autumn.

Spend, a $1.55 million Snitzel yearling who has only had the one racetrack start for a win at Rosehill in July, jumped-out at Flemington on Friday morning in a fashion that had Wayne Hawkes thinking there could be big things ahead for the colt this autumn.

‘’With a bit of luck, the normal Joe-blow punter will know who Spend is come the end of the autumn,’’ Hawkes told

‘’He just had an easy look around just to get him on his Melbourne leg. He’s been here before but he’s never raced (in Melbourne) before so he had an easy jump-out and he strolled up quite nicely.’’

Punters have not seen Spend since he won narrowly on debut at Rosehill six months ago but Hawkes said there was a lot of merit to the victory.

‘’It was a good win that day because the trials the Friday before were cancelled so he went in without a barrier trial,’’ he explained. ‘’He got tired the last 50 metres, but that was deservedly so.

‘’Not barrier trialling before your first race start that is a bit of a no-no really but we had to run him and put him in the paddock and so he’s had a really, really good spell and we haven’t pushed him.

‘’He just needed that little bit of time to come up so we’ve just given him all the time in the world so hopefully he’ll repay us in the autumn.

‘’He’s a full matured horse now. Even though he’s only had the one start, he’s not race mature but he’s mature in the head and body-wise, he’s a great looking colt as all expensive colts generally are. He’s just furnished into a lovely horse.’’

Spend could stay in Melbourne for the group 1 Australian Guineas on March 1, but Hawkes said a decision on his program is still to be made.

Exceedance, picture

It is a similar case for both the Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Exceedance and the Doncaster Handicap winner Brutal with that pair only recently returning to work.

Hawkes said both horses endured a tough spring and needed their breaks.

‘’He (Exceedance) went back to Sydney and had a four-week spell,’ he said. ‘’He was tired after that run (Coolmore). They don’t look hard runs but they are gut-busters.

‘’You run against the best of the best and you are running near track records every time you run.

‘’To the naked eye they don’t look hard runs, but they are young horses.

‘’We don’t know (where he will run first-up) yet. He’s in Melbourne right now but he’s still weeks and weeks off running.’’

Brutal’s final racing campaign was likely to  be a light one, Hawkes said.

‘’He ran the equivalent of (Victoria) derby day (in the Golden Eagle) so when those horses run that late into the spring, they don’t get that much time off.

‘’He’s only just going back into work now and he’s a bit the same deal (as Exceedance). ‘’He’s already got a stud to go to and he’s already won a Doncaster Handicap. As we say to the owners, he’s already done his job and whatever he does now is fat bonus.

‘’He’ll be the same at Exceedance in that he’ll race less than more.

‘’But there’s a chance that Exceedance may race on (next season). There’s no 100 per cent that he has to go to stud this year while Brutal is most likely to go to stud in 2020.’’