Love Conquers All earned another attempt at an elusive Group One win with victory in the Group Three Betfair Stakes at Caulfield.
The five-year-old Nick Moraitis-owned entire has finished runner-up three times at the highest level this year in the George Ryder Stakes, Doncaster Mile and Doomben 10,000 and a win would be thoroughly deserved.
The victory for John Hawkes was an appropriate homecoming for Hong Kong based rider Darren Beadman who had earlier renewed his association with Bart Cummings to win aboard Oaks bound Gliding.
Both trainers provided Beadman with some of his biggest wins in the 1990s with Octagonal (Hawkes) and Saintly (Cummings).
Beadman had the well-supported Love Conquers All ($6 to 4.80 fav) travelling with cover into a strong wind behind the leader Utah Saints in the early stages of the 1400m Group Three race.
He produced him in the straight where he raced clear and held out the fast finishing Albert The Fat ($11) by 1-1/2 lengths.
Pinwheel ($6.50) also ran home strongly to be three-quarters of a length away third.
“He had the winner’s run from barrier one and he gets into these races pretty well at the weights in these set weights plus penalties races,” said Wayne Hawkes who trains in partnership with his father John and brother Michael.
“Darren gave him a good smother out of the wind, protected him a bit and saved him for a sprint at the end.”
Hawkes said the $1 million Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8 would be a good race to aim at.
“We’ll see how he pulls up and make a decision on that,” he said.
Beadman said Love Conquers All gave him a beautiful ride.
“He pinged out, put himself in the right position, switched off well and when push came to shove he pushed into the open nicely and when I asked him for an effort he quickened nice,” he said.
“It was a good, solid win.”
The honest Love Conquers All has won eight and been placed in seven of his 21 starts earning more than $1.3 million prize money.