Former Kiwi trainer Brendon Hawtin is looking forward to taking the next step in his training career after making a successful move to Australia just on eight months ago.
Hawtin took up the position of assistant trainer to expat New Zealanders Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young at Cranbourne in September last year and has thrived in the role as the stable has gone from strength to strength in recent times.
Hawtin looks after the pre-training and development of the stable’s younger horses, while under his visiting trainer’s license he prepares progressive sprinter/miler Simply Optimistic.
Hawtin is set to apply for his full Australian trainer’s license which will enable him to retain his existing position with Busuttin and Young while also increasing the number of horses prepared in his own name.
“I’m currently still on my visiting trainer’s license but I’m going to hand in the paperwork to apply for my full license in the next couple of days,” Hawtin said.
“It has just been terrific over here so far with the horses going so well and with my new license I will be able to take over a few more in my own right.
“Things have fallen into place really well since I’ve been here so I’m hoping we can keep up that momentum.”
Hawtin believes Simply Optimistic is set to regain his winning ways after three runs back in his current campaign despite finishing sixth on Saturday in a BM74 1400m contest at Caulfield.
“He’s come up well and is going to get the tracks he likes over the next few months,” he said.
“He did a few things wrong on Saturday but still finished less than two lengths from the winner so I thought it was a nice run.
“I still think he is six months away from reaching his full potential and come the spring I think we can raise the bar with him.
“It’s a good time of the year though to have a horse in work that handles it wet and with the prizemoney on offer, the worlds your oyster.”
Hawtin has also had the opportunity to enjoy the winning feeling in a slightly different role in recent weeks with former kiwi galloper Animator, a horse who he owns a share in, winning two of his first three Australian starts including a victory over 1600m on the Pakenham synthetic track on May 1.
The enigmatic seven-year-old Encosta De Lago gelding won seven races in New Zealand, including once over hurdles, and has taken on a new lease of life since settling into his new surroundings at the Busuttin/Young Cranbourne stable.
“He has been terrific since he’s been here,” Hawtin said.
“I wasn’t sure if he would handle the synthetic track last time but he copped it well, so it opens up plenty of opportunities for him over the next few months.
“The plan was to come over, give him a couple of runs and then get his jumping ticket but the way he is going I’m not sure whether he will see a fence during this campaign.”