The Roar
The Roar

Andrew Hawkins

Expert

Joined July 2012

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Very keen racing fan and Olympics enthusiast, now working for the South China Morning Post's horse racing desk in Hong Kong. Lucky to have attended some of the biggest racing events worldwide - but the Melbourne Cup is still my favourite event of all!

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Disagree entirely with your thoughts about number 1, and agree with Adam wholeheartedly. In HK, it works perfectly – you get a bog, doesn’t matter, you run regardless. Horses that sometimes don’t handle wet tracks one day will the next.

My racing wishlist for the 2016-17 season

Put simply, no. Horses should be able to come here and run first-up in the Melbourne Cup should they desire. To do otherwise is narrow minded and just way too simplistic.

Imagine saying to horses who run in the Hong Kong international races, no, you have to run in Hong Kong first. You’d lose three quarters of the visitors and the quality would suffer as a result.

The quality of the Melbourne Cup changes from year to year, but denying those who are fresh is silly.

I do agree that some changes should be made to the qualifying criteria, though.

A stat that so many forget – more overseas-trained placegetters have actually gone into the Melbourne Cup fresh than not. Yes, only Vintage Crop has won it fresh but SO many have finished in the top three going in fresh.

Imports should prove they are worthy of running in the Melbourne Cup

Hi Brent, great piece. I’ve been lucky enough to work here in Hong Kong this year with the South China Morning Post, and to see the champ in action. It’s been great theatre, but then again, HK always seems to deliver on the theatre element…

Purton rises to the top in Racing's Mecca

Watching the replay again – Gregers was good, but had the perfect run through. Wordplay was fantastic and will be hard to beat up to 2000m. Could even follow her half brother Fiveandahalfstar in winning a classic during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

2013 Group 1 Thousand Guineas - preview, live racing updates

On that, you’d say Guelph probably doesn’t go to the Cox Plate but let’s hear what Peter Snowden says.

2013 Group 1 Thousand Guineas - preview, live racing updates

Decisive move from McEvoy to pounce and go to the lead straight from the gates. That was unexpected.

She looked in trouble at the top of the straight, and May’s Dream looked like she’d race right past her. But Guelph was too strong.

2013 Group 1 Thousand Guineas - preview, live racing updates

Have to say, all the fillies in the yard look sensational. Kudos to their trainers, none looked too bad at all!

2013 Group 1 Thousand Guineas - preview, live racing updates

I thought of that…which may be why Sacred Falls may be in trouble if all 18 accept. Reason being, I think they’d exclude two of Lloyd’s – given he’ll have two runners already – and maybe one of the Conlan/Munz horses. I’m not sure if it would be Ferlax or Rekindled Interest, both have compelling reasons why they should be excluded.

It would seem ridiculous that a Doncaster winner could be excluded, but you never know!

Definitely hope you are right that there are only 15 (or less) acceptors.

Who will be excluded from the 2013 Cox Plate?

Sorry, I left Dandino, Simenon, Forgotten Voice off because I’d mentioned them in a previous article.

I love that you think Royal Empire’s a 2400m-2800m horse, because for years I was adamant that was exactly the type of European horse you needed to win the Melbourne Cup. Americain changed that slightly, but I still believe if the English want to win the Melbourne Cup, they need a horse better suited over the shorter trips.

Here’s an interesting fact which I neglected to mention in the article – of Godolphin’s three second placegetters, NONE had raced at 3200m before they came to Melbourne.

In 1999, Central Park ran in the Melbourne Cup as topweight. He was used as a pacemaker by Godolphin in classier races, and the furthest he’d raced over was 12f (2400m). He probably only saw 3150m out, and that was thanks to a gun Frankie Dettori ride, but still, some effort.

In 2001, Give The Slip should have won for sure – although I love Ethereal and her effort was just as extraordinary. He’d only been beyond 2400m once, when he won the Ebor over 2800m. After his Ebor success, he too was used as a pacemaker in races like the Prince of Wales, the King George and the Irish Champion Stakes. He came to Australia a year after his Ebor success, and I still can’t believe how good his run was.

In 2009, Crime Scene had yet to run over further than 2400m and he came to Australia after a 29L last to Illustrious Blue in the Glorious Stakes. His run in the Geelong Cup was nothing more than average, but the blinkers sharpened him up.

So perhaps, despite the stamina queries, they could actually be a positive for Royal Empire.

Quarantine marks start of the road to the Melbourne Cup

It may be considered defeatist, but it’s also realism. It just won’t measure up to those races!!! You’ve got to remember, they are in the business of making stallions. Would Coolmore want an Arc winner or a Cox Plate winner? Not a hard choice.

I love Moonee Valley as a spectator. It makes for exciting racing, and it separates the men from the boys (figuratively speaking). The only reason I raise it is that it is a major stumbling block in the thoughts of connections bringing horses here.

A horse like Frankel would have thrived around Moonee Valley IMO, but they would never have wanted to try him.

Now, I like your idea of getting ambassadors to ride at the meeting and promote it in their home countries. But the bonus system has been tried – the Emirates World Series – and apart from Grandera, it pretty much failed.

So yes, it may be a defeatist attitude, but I think there needs to be a sense of realism. Where it is currently placed on the calendar, it would never work. The only way it could possibly work, in my opinion, would be to look at other parts of the year – and then it wouldn’t work for other reasons.

As we said earlier this year, though, it just needs one big name European winner for the floodgates to open. Side Glance/Mull of Killough will not fulfil that purpose.

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

I agree with certain parts of your comment Will. I agree it has had enormous benefits for the industry, and that the process has entered a new phase. I’m just not sure how restrictive we should be.

I don’t want to see the Melbourne Cup restricted to horses who have raced in Australia. This year’s a great example. Some great horses will be among the batch who go into quarantine tomorrow, and they’ll just be here for a hit and run mission. I don’t want to stop that.

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

Yes, I remember that about Jezabeel/Champagne – although Taufan’s Melody was a gritty fourth.

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

Spot on Sam. I mean, we’ve had some international superstars in recent years – how could you forget Macau champion Luen Yat Forever?? Hahaha.

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

I agree, I think 2400m is too far but Kav has said the Caulfield Cup is his race. That said, if Atlantic Jewel doesn’t run out a strong 2000m in the Caulfield Stakes, then perhaps he’ll run Super Cool. Remember, he backed up Maldivian after he ran 9th in the Caulfield Cup, and he won the Cox Plate!

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

Continuing your analogy Justin, the Buddy Franklins of European racing will not look to Melbourne, full stop. Why would they miss out on the chance to target the Arc, the Champion Stakes (or the QEII Stakes), the Breeders’ Cup Classic (or Turf or Mile) and a number of lesser races around Europe for a race in Australia around the tight Moonee Valley circuit? Except for exceptional circumstances – Grandera for one – the best you can hope for is to elevate a reserve.

At this time of year, Australia’s weight for age race resembles the NAB Cup, while the weight for age races of the northern hemisphere represent finals footy. And I think recent years demonstrate you cannot buy participation from the top Europeans.

As for whether the MVRC will be forced to make a tough decision, I tend to think you are right at this stage. But this Saturday is crucial in determining the spring path of many horses – the Epsom tends to throw up a Cox Plate contender or two. Maybe horses like Rekindled Interest (I’ve never been a fan but I think he’s in the Epsom up to his ears) and Lidari could become Cox Plate chances.

If Guelph wins the Thousand Guineas, Long John/Prince Harada win the Caulfield Guineas and Drago wins the Spring Champion, you could have three 3YOs there. And who knows, the Caulfield Guineas winner could pay the late entry fee – a horse like El Roca would be great in a Cox Plate!

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

No one. But I don’t mind having international runners if they are of a calibre to measure up.

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

I tend to agree with you Cam that So You Think shouldn’t have been allowed a run. But that’s in hindsight, and if you’d suggested as such in October 2009, I would have been brimming with rage – I backed him at 150s in early August! And it was a sizeable bet for me at the time, as well as with a number of doubles!

But you are right – the Cox Plate was the first time he was ridden forward so they were essentially able to keep his true talent, so to speak, under wraps.

International controversy to overshadow brilliant Cox Plate

That’s an issue that plagues many of us passionate racing fans! #nogirlfriend

Doubt reigns, questions asked as Atlantic Jewel is beaten

Mull of Killough, who will get into the race, will set the pace and ensure a strong tempo. Either that or, as Justin suggested, a lightweight three year old will ensure a solid tempo.

2013 Underwood Stakes: Horse racing preview, live blog, tips

I disagree. Goes to the Turnbull in two weeks. Keep the freshness in his legs.

2013 George Main Stakes preview, live blog and tips

I agree about Quintessential – apparently Let’s Make Adeal is going to Morphettville for the Penang Trophy, where she’ll meet Araldo and Star Rolling. Good little race.

The Naturalism's a mini-Caulfield Cup

I’m committed to Kingdoms, to an extent. I just don’t know how he’s going to make the Cups to be honest, unless he wins the Lexus. And I think he’s a better Caulfield Cup horse, personally….

A look at the Cups, a month out

Hahahaha! Thanks!

An election is the perfect time for an omen bet

Well done James (It’s a Dundeel!)

That would be amazing. I remember, I think it was Oscars night, there was a great omen. Can’t remember what it was though!

Surely Decision Time and I’m All The Talk quinella the Concorde Stakes?

An election is the perfect time for an omen bet

Hahahaha cheers Brad – was going to try and get a Nathan Bracken reference in there but it didn’t really work.

An election is the perfect time for an omen bet