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Hawkes Magic Works Wonders As Archedemus Claims Gong

By Ray Hickson

The Team Hawkes ‘resurrection’ job on talented miler Archedemus is complete after the seven-year-old rode a strong tempo and toughed it out to win the second running of the $1m The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

Trainer Michael Hawkes (Pic: Bradley Photos).

At his fourth start for the Hawkes family partnership the gelding took over on the home turn from early leader Positive Peace and fought off favourite Dawn Passage, who looked to have him cold, to win by a short neck with Kembla local Think It Over 1-1/2 lengths away in third.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said the stable was asked by owner Ross Williams to first take Group 1 winner Angel Of Truth over then Archedemus was thrown into the mix after 12 months of indifferent form.

“He asked if we could take this horse and resurrect it, and I said let us do our job and we will be right,’’ Hawkes said.

“He’s well and truly back to form this bloke.

“I have to go give Jay (Ford) credit. The plan was to go forward and I just said I hope he jumps and let him roll forward and do the rest.

“He’s the kind of horse you’ve got to go that half length quicker than slower and get his mental attitude right.

“Probably half way out I was a bit worried they were going too quick. It was a very tenacious and gutsy effort and all credit to Jay and the horse.”

Stablemate Rock was the more faniced of the Hawkes duo but he could only manage 12th with Hawkes saying he has clearly come to the end of his preparation.

Archedemus was an accomplished miler last year and claimed the Hawkesbury Cup, plus a Listed race in Brisbane, under Kembla trainer Gwenda Markwell. He came to the Hawkes stable after three starts for Joe Pride earlier this year.

Hawkes said he showed in the Ladies’ Day Cup at Hawkesbury at his third run for the stable he was close to his best.

He said the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick next month could be on the cards for Archedemus but stressed no decisions are made on race day.

“His run first-up in Melbourne was really good and coming back from Melbourne to Sydney his run was okay, probably the wet track really affected him,’’ he said.

“He just took off from there, his run last start at Hawkesbury was very good and was just found wanting the last little bit. He got going late again after the line.

“(The Villiers) is probably an option for him now, it depends on how he pulls up. He may be looking for a spell but we have a lot to look forward to in the autumn with him.

Archedemus wins The Gong at Kembla Grange

“It’s only our first crack and even though he is a seven-year-old he is only starting to turn the corner.”

Dawn Passage’s jockey Tim Clark thought he had the race won early in the straight but simply couldn’t get the better of Archedemus when it counted.

“I got past the winner but he out toughed him. He was only that far off it so it’s hard to say he hasn’t run a mile,’’ Clark said.

Local trainer Kerry Parker was rapt with Think It Over’s third placing saying he did Woollongong proud by overcoming a torrid run and claiming the minor money.

“I don’t think he got cover, I think he was posted the whole way,’’ he said.

“It was a huge effort, he was strong to the line and kept chasing. He’s run third in a $1m race you’ve got to walk away pretty happy.”

All the results and replays from Kembla Grange's The Gong meeting

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