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Patience to pay off for Team Hawkes
Mandy Cottell
19:06 AEST Thu Apr 25 2013

Two horses who have defied logic and fate will attempt to deliver Team Hawkes an emotional Sydney Cup victory on Saturday.

And in what could be a big afternoon for the training partnership, gun colt All Too Hard will line up for his final Australian start in the All Aged Stakes (1400m).

It is testament to Team Hawkes that the trio will even race on the final day of the Sydney autumn carnival.

They have patiently nursed all three horses back to health at different stages of their respective careers, particularly Sydney Cup hopefuls Maluckyday and Niwot.

"Niwot's had injuries and Maluckyday should be dead," co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.

Maluckyday suffered a life-threatening bout of pneumonia in the spring of 2011, eventually making it back to the track a year later.

Niwot smashed a knee just as his star was in the ascent in the winter of 2009, an injury considered so serious several veterinarians said he would never race again.

Not only did the pair make it back to the races, they made their way back into some of their old form.

Niwot won last year's Sydney Cup, performed soundly enough to earn a place in the Melbourne Cup during the spring, and now heads to Randwick for his third 3200m contest in 12 months.

Maluckyday also lined up in last year's Melbourne Cup and while he hasn't won since the 2010 Lexus Stakes, his lead-up form to Saturday's staying feature suggests a victory is near.

The six-year-old closed resolutely for third in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and was again doing his best work late for sixth in The BMW (2400m).

"It took him a couple of preparations to get going. He just wants ground," Hawkes said.

"He is a proven two-miler. He's run second in a Melbourne Cup and if he's anywhere near his best he should be able to beat them."

And if either of the crocks did manage a Sydney Cup triumph?

"It would be special. Niwot was special last year and he's a good chance again on Saturday," Hawkes said.

A victory by All Too Hard would also be special.

He had a setback of his own when he spiked a temperature in the lead-up to the Australian Guineas and was scratched.

He has been given more than two months to recover and needs to perform on Saturday to warrant pressing on to the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Team Hawkes also has a point to prove with the valuable colt.

All Too Hard has won three Group One races - all of them in Melbourne.

There is a school of thought he isn't as effective in Sydney and Hawkes hopes his charge puts that theory to bed in the All Aged.

"Hopefully Sydney will get an insight into just how good he is on Saturday."


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