Defending champion Hawks Bay will be forced to break a weight-carrying record for the second consecutive year if he is to again claim victory in the 2012 Darwin Cup (2000m).
Heading to his fourth consecutive Darwin Cup, the Neil Dyer-trained seven-year-old will carry 64.5kg from barrier one.
It is 2.5kg more than the Victorian-based gelding carried last year when he scored an astonishing four-length victory ahead of Palmyra Boy and Blackbriar.
After getting his cup defence campaign off to a flying start with victories in both the Roant Gold Cup and Chief Minister’s Cup, Hawks Bay suffered a setback last weekend when finishing sixth in the Metric Mile.
A crowd favourite in Darwin following consecutive seconds in 2009-10 and victory last year, Hawks Bay is currently third favourite at $5.00 to score a second title.
Dyer admitted he is less confident than last year but knows the son of Black Hawk will again bring his best effort.
“He’s an honest old gladiator and I know he’ll be doing his best no matter what,” Dyer said.
“But I’m probably less confident this year than what I have been the past three years.”
A veteran of 51 career starts, Hawks Bay has scored 13 wins and collected more than $700,000 in prize money.
Taking on Hawks Bay in his title defence are local geldings Sheahan and Bolton.
Sheahan is coming off two consecutive victories at Darwin’s Fannie Bay track and Bolton finished runner-up to Hawks Bay in the Chief Minister’s Cup before going down to his stablemate when again runner-up last start.