Cup options on the cards for Imperial Hawk

Imperial Hawk (Matt Cameron) collaring Dubai Shuffle (inner) on her way to a sound win at Tauranga. (Photo: Trish Dunell).

Imperial Hawk (Matt Cameron) collaring Dubai Shuffle (inner) on her way to a sound win at Tauranga. (Photo: Trish Dunell).


Cambridge mare Imperial Hawk emerged as a serious Cups candidate when picking up her third win at Tauranga yesterday.

The manner in which the Australian-bred daughter of Purrealist won the Bayleys Real Estate 2100 proved she could be a lightweight prospect in such events as the Gr. 3 $75,000 Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup at Hastings on April 18 or the Gr. 3 $75,000 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup at Rotorua on May 9.

Trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are likely to be looking to sneak her into either, or both, the Cups with a lightweight.

Going into yesterday’s event she was rated on 68 and scored by three-quarters of a length from Dubai Shuffle, who two starts earlier had run a creditable seventh in the Gr. 2 Wellington Cup, won by Imperial Hawk’s stablemate Maygrove.

Imperial Hawk ran once over the Auckland Cup carnival, finishing a useful fifth behind fellow Cambridge mare Celebrity Miss and would have been unlucky not to win yesterday.

She was caught behind the weakening pacemaker Even Better turning for home and was held up until halfway into the straight, by which time Dubai Shuffle had taken over and looked likely to score. But Imperial Hawk responded to rider Matt Cameron’s urgings and flashed at Dubai Shuffle and on to a convincing win.

“She does have a very good sprint when you can hold her up for one shot at them and once he got her in the clear she put them away quite comfortably in the end,” said Forsman.

Imperial Hawk began her career in New South Wales, where she had three starts from Chris Waller’s stable for three placings on the outskirts of Sydney.

She was placed fourth in her first run from the Baker – Forsman stable then cleared maiden ranks when stepped up to 2100 metres at Tauranga last December. After a couple more placings from her next three starts she then raced away to a five and a half-length win over 2100 at Ellerslie, beating Gifted Lad, who went on to contest the Gr. 1 TV3 NZ Derby.