CO-TRAINER Michael Hawkes did his best to downplay the return of Melbourne Cup hopeful La Amistad at Hawkesbury last Thursday despite her eye-catching effort to finish third in the Rowley Mile.
“Yeah it was Ok, it was a pass,” Hawkes said.
The three quarter sister to three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva showed how good she’s came back from a spell following her win in the McKell Cup at Randwick in May. She sat off the speed before flying home to grab third and was hitting the line harder than any runner in the race. “She only had an 800-metre trial [in the lead up] and they ran her off her feet and I said not to read too much into it because that’s just her,” Hawkes said. “Today over the mile, she’s done a super job but she’s got a long way to go and yet she’s still running races like that and is nowhere near top fitness.
“She’s definitely come back bigger, strong and better mentally. It was a pretty good effort really.”
The program for La Amistad is still up in the air because the mare won’t run on a heavy track, and with all the wild weather in Sydney of late, Team Hawkes won’t commit to a specific program, but would prefer to space her runs every fortnight if they can.
“She’ll stay in Sydney at this stage but it really depends on weather,” Hawkes said.
“With her, there’s so many options like The Metropolitan, so it’s a matter of her pulling up well now.
“The biggest thing today was to get past today and we’ve done that now.”
Hawkes admitted his hall of fame co-trainer father John almost scratched the five-year-old from the Rowley Mile, but the track’s excellent drainage meant the surface would be a slow 7.
“For about 20 minutes dad [John] was deciding do we or don’t we today, and I just said to him ‘go with your gut’ and he decided to run and it’s worked out,” Hawkes said.
“We were lucky to get away with what we’ve done today and the track’s held up well.”