Hawk Island’s transformation from rogue galloper to honest big-race performer will be complete if the import can snare an upset win in Saturday’s $2.5 million Caulfield Cup.
The Chris Waller-trained seven-year-old has exceeded connections’ expectations in a big way and jockey Glyn Schofield has been along for the ride and developed a real fondness for the seven-year-old.
Schofield won on Hawk Island at his first ride on the gelding in June last year and has since partnered him 13 more times for another four wins and four placings.
“When I first started riding him he was a bit of a rogue, he used to do a lot of things wrong and not win was one of them,” Schofield said.
“Then all of a sudden he started to enjoy his racing and put lots of wins together. Now, a year and a bit later, he is where he is.”
Schofield admitted he never thought Hawk Island would reach the level he has, but that’s what would make a Caulfield Cup success all the more special if the gelding can produce a career-best performance and get up on Saturday.
“Through trying different things with him, and obviously through winning, he developed a liking for what he’s doing and he loves it now,” Schofield said.
“He’s a horse that I’ve got a lot of time for, I just really enjoy riding him based on those facts.
“You get some horses you really enjoy riding and he’s definitely one of my favourites.”
Hawk Island, who has finished runner-up in the Hill Stakes (2000m) and Group One Metropolitan (2400m) at his past two starts, is a noted wet tracker and his chances would be enhanced if any rain fell at Caulfield.
The track was rated a good (3) on Friday.
“I’d love some rain,” Schofield said.
“He’s going to run his honest race. Whether his honest race is good enough to win we’ll find out, but I certainly think he’s in there with a chance.
“He stays well and he’s got no real quirks.
“He prefers a bit of sting out of the ground so we’ll see if we get that or not, but he’s going well.”