Hawtin hoping Bowman can do the trick

Padraig earned his Karaka Million start with a strong win at Trentham.

Padraig earned his Karaka Million start with this strong win at Trentham.

Brendon Hawtin is happy to let his horse Padraig do the talking when it comes to Sunday’s Karaka Million.

The Cambridge trainer’s son of Power has impressed in his two starts which consisted of a debut third behind the unbeaten Felton Road then an authoritative win at Trentham.

While the gelding has progressed well since his trip away, one could be forgiven for thinking Padraig’s barrier draw of 12 might have been cause for consternation.

“When it first came out it was – ‘oh no’, but I don’t think it is all that bad,” said Hawtin. “He might end up getting a bit further back than we want to, but the good thing is his pattern of racing is not going to change.”

Padraig will have the addition of blinkers “just to straighten him” and also has a change of jockey, with connections engaging Hugh Bowman.

“It’s never easy taking jockeys off, but Tommy Heptinstall [Padraig’s principal owner] did say that if we got to the Karaka Million he would love to have Hugh ride him,” said Hawtin. “Very rarely do plans go that well!

“Hopefully, Hugh will get him in a good spot and he will be making big bounds late. Whether he is good enough to win we will have to see.”

While Bowman has previously provided Heptinstall and his racing partners with the thrill of a Gr.1 VRC Derby win on the Trent Busuttin-trained Sangster, he might owe Padraig’s trainer a winning turn.

“He ran second in the race on a filly of ours, Silk Pins,” recalled Hawtin.

Back in 2012 when Silk Pins was runner-up to Ockham’s Razor, Hawtin was training in partnership with his father Keith. He is now in just his second season flying solo, basing himself at the Cambridge stables formerly occupied by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.

“When Trent and Natalie moved to Melbourne it was the perfect opportunity,” said Hawtin. “We’ve still got the Te Awamutu stable and Keith is a massive part of things.

“I met Tommy Heptinstall through Trent and he bought Padraig last year as a Karaka Million horse. Thankfully, when they went to Cranbourne the owners were happy to give him to me.”

Hawtin was bred into racing and the 39-year-old admits that the idea that he might become a trainer was planted early on.

Brendon Hawtin is hoping it's second time lucky in the Karaka Million after a second win Silk Pins.

Brendon Hawtin is hoping it’s second time lucky in the Karaka Million after a second win Silk Pins.

“I was born in Australia and came back to New Zealand when I was about four or five. I was always down at the stables mucking around and I think I was always destined to be a trainer,” he said.

“It’s a pretty good industry to be involved in – it’s taken me half-way round the world.”

After spending his formative years at Graeme Rogerson’s Tuhikaramea stables, Hawtin junior spent 12 months at Highview Stud before heading offshore.

His first stop was California where he was based with the late Henry Cecil’s nephew Ben.

“The way they race there, hammer down, took a while to get my head around. Among the horses racing at the time was Cigar, so I saw him race,” he said. “On the whole it was a great experience, once you adapted to the pattern of their racing.”

From the States it was on to Singapore and 18 months with Paddy Busuttin.

“That was where I first met Trent,” he said. “After that I went home for a little while and then went to Dubai with Keith.”

When Hawtin senior left Dubai, he remained spending a further six months with John Sadler.

“I stayed just under two years and it was another eye-opener,” he said. “Then I went back to Graeme Rogerson’s Sydney stable for a couple of years, came back to New Zealand in 2005 and the following year trained in partnership with Keith.”

Having a horse line up in Sunday’s $1m juvenile race is a huge positive for Hawtin’s fledgling solo training career.

“A lot will hinge on Sunday night,” he said. “Just having a runner is good, as people can see I can get a horse to the race. If he was to win it could open a few doors.”

NZ Racing Desk.