KYNETON galloper Hawks Bay is no star on the turf in Victoria, but to racegoers in Darwin he’s racing royalty.
The Neil Dyer-trained gelding made it successive wins in the Darwin Cup when Hawks Bay fought doggedly in the final 200m to win by a half-head in a thrilling finish.
The seven-year-old secured back-to-back wins in the 2000-metre event when he lumped monster 64.5kg to a courageous victory.
The son of Black Hawk, ridden by Alice Springs-born jockey Steven Arnold, provided Dyer with arguably his biggest thrill in racing.
“This is very satisfying because we’ve had problems, we’ve been working on him right until the last minute to try and get him here, and when you do it like that and it comes off it’s very satisfying,” Dyer said.
“I thought he was gallant and on the line I thought we might have just got beaten.
“But I wouldn’t have been disappointed anyway because the horse just tried his guts out.”
Arnold was equally as thrilled to see Hawks Bay score a 14th career win, which lifted his career earnings to $847,300.
After starting from the inside barrier, Arnold was able to edge the gelding off the fence early and settled in fifth position.
They improved from the 800m and swept to the front before straightening, but had to dig deep late.
Bolton, who was heavily backed to start the $3.10 favourite, looked to have Hawks Bay’s measure when he raced alongside him at the 100m mark, but Hawks Bay fought back tenaciously.