It certainly was a case of third time lucky for Hawks Bay in the Darwin Cup on Monday.
The Neil Dyer-trained gelding confined heartbreaking defeats in the 2009 and 2010 Darwin Cups to the history books with a four length victory in $175,000 Top End feature.
Stablemate Palmyra Boy (Mujahid) finished strongly for second with Blackbriar (Desert Sun) filling out the placings. The Ruffian started favourite to complete the Darwin Triple Crown but he was blocked for a run at a crucial stage and finished sixth.
“I’ve been trying to win the Cup for a few years,” Dyer said. “At the corner I knew he was home and Steven produced an exceptional ride. The fact that Palmyra Boy ran second has also made it worthwhile travelling to Darwin for the third straight year.”
Hawks Bay (5g Black Hawk – La Belle Coquette by Bellotto) first arrived at the Top End in 2009 to win the Darwin Guineas and NT Derby. He just missed completing the Triple Crown in the 2009 Darwin Cup and he went even closer when beaten a short-head by Shout Out Loud in the 2010 Darwin Cup.
His 2011 Cup preparation began with a first-up win at Fannie Bay in June and he went into Monday’s race on the back of a lead-up victory in the Metric Mile on July 23.
Hawks Bay is a homebred for Robyne Blee and Mike Deacon and has won at Flemington and Caulfield in addition to country cups at Wangaratta and Murray Bridge. He is by former Eliza Park shuttler Black Hawk and is the last of 7 winners for La Belle Coquette who was bred by Arrowfield and Rob Crabtree.