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Hawkbill back for revenge in Woodbine’s Northern Dancer

J A McGrath

One of Godolphin’s great globetrotters, Hawkbillinfo-icon, seeks to go one better in this year’s G1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes on a track surface that should favour him at Woodbine, Toronto, on Saturday.

He is accompanied on this Canadian mission by two-year-old filly La Pelosa, who runs in Sunday’s G1 Natalma Stakes, over one mile, which is a Breeders’ Cup ‘win and you’re in’ race.

Trainer Charlie Appleby is optimistic both can go close in their respective assignments.

“They have been there in Toronto for a week now, and reports of their work are good. They have settled in well, which is encouraging news,” he said.

Hawkbill will come up against old rival Johnny Bear, who beat him a head into second  in last year’s renewal of the Northern Dancer. But Appleby is expecting the placings to be reversed this time.

“It was very fast ground last year, but this time, we can expect it to be closer to Good,” the trainer pointed out.

Hawkbill has been a remarkable horse for Godolphin, winning 10 of his 23 starts and nearly US$5m in prizemoney.

He will be ridden for the first time by Jamie Spencer, who has also been booked for La Pelosa in the Natalma Stakes 24 hours later.

Appleby said: “She brings a good level of form to the race, and I feel the step up to one mile is going to suit her.”