Melbourne Cup 2012 will take place on Tuesday and nothing would please Australian trainer Wayne Hawkes more than to bring the title back home.
French horses Dunaden and Americain have won the past two Melbourne Cups and many have conceded this year’s cup will head to Europe for another year.
But Hawkes, who trains Cup runners Niwot and Maluckyday with dad John and brother Michael, is hoping this could be the year to steal one back for the locals.
“There’s not many of us locals but we’ll be happy to send the Europeans back if we’re good enough,” Hawkes said at the cup barrier draw today.
Both Niwot and Maluckyday buck the trend in this year’s cup field in that they are both Australian bred and trained.
Maluckyday will be out to go one better after finishing second to Americain in 2010 while Niwot finished eighth last year.
Hawkes is thrilled to have both stayers fit and showing promise heading into this year’s cup, with both having battled injury and illness in the past.
“For a couple of old crocks hopefully they’ll do Australia proud,” he said.
“From a trainer’s point of view it’s actually quite amazing to have these horses both up and in good form.”
Maluckyday was second in the Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington last month and after missing the start in the Geelong Cup still managed to run home strongly.
He is the highest rated Australian runner in the bookmaker.com.au Melbourne Cup market at $13 and while Hawkes admits he is their best hope, he is not ruling out Niwot.
“He was only beaten three lengths last year. He won the Sydney Cup, I think he’s going alright,” he said.
Niwot is rated a $41 Melbourne Cup chance.
Apart from Maluckyday, the major Australian-trained hopes appear to be Green Moon ($15), Ethiopia ($17) and Lights Of Heaven ($31).
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