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Sir John Hawkwood To Make Australian Debut
Imported UK stayer Sir John Hawkwood (Sir Percy-Athene, by Rousillon) will make his Australian debut in the Programmed Property Services Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on Sunday, reports horseracing.com.au. The Irish-bred son of English Derby winner Sir Percy is the latest overseas stayer acquired by an Australian bloodstock outfit with designs on winning the Melbourne Cup. Sir John Hawkwood was purchased by Waratah Bloodstock who have entrusted trainer Craig Ritchie with preparing him for a Cups campaign. Ritchie has been patient with the 5YO, electing to bypass the Naturalism Stakes last weekend in order to give him a little extra time to settle in. "We are kicking off on Sunday, it seems like a nice race for him and onwards and upwards from there," Ritchie said. "I was happy to step him up to ten furlongs first-up but I needed that extra week to tune him up." Ritchie said he is expecting a forward showing from the lightly raced gelding after he performed well in a recent barrier trial at Cranbourne. "He is ready but he certainly hasn't been tuned for the race. I am confident that he will go well; whether he wins the race or not remains to be seen," he said. Sir John Hawkwood, who won 4 of his 8 starts in England, needs to win a ballot-exempt race to force his way into the Melbourne Cup field. The Gr3 Geelong Cup (2400m) and the Gr3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) are therefore likely targets.