After operating out of two Waikato stables, trainer Brendon Hawtin is taking another step in his career with a shift to Victoria.
Hawtin has accepted a position as assistant trainer to expat New Zealanders Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young at Cranbourne and will also train a few horses on his own account. “The opportunity arose to be assistant trainer to Trent and Natalie and I will be applying for my trainers’ license over there so it is too good to turn down,” Hawtin said. “I’ve been friends with Trent and Natalie for years and they are flying over there, getting bigger and bigger. I will be taking over a new barn at Cranbourne to have 30 of their horses in work.
“I’ve always wanted to have a go in Australia at some stage and I had to grab this with two hands. “I will finish up at my Cambridge stable on Friday and my last runner here will be Double Impact who is in at Matamata on Wednesday but he could go to Ruakaka (on Saturday) instead.”
Stephen Marsh, whose training operation is expanding, is stepping in to take over Hawtin’s Cambridge stable and Hawtin’s father, Keith, will reapply for his trainer’s license to continue the Te Awamutu stable, which he has been managing for his son. “It’s all worked out well,” Hawtin said. “Initially when I get over to Aussie I’ll probably end up back in Sydney for a month or so with some of Trent and Natalie’s horses.”
Hawtin made his mark in Sydney when heading over earlier this winter with Simply Optimistic, who had been off the scene since winning at Ruakaka last September. The Encosta de Lago gelding produced a top effort to win over 1200m at Randwick before suffering a setback. “He kicked the wall in his box and suffered an injury below his hock so he needs a long spell,” Hawtin said. “He’s spelling at Berry (New South Wales) and will resume work with me at the beginning of December. If everything goes well I might be able to get him to the Brisbane Winter Carnival.”
Nightlign is the best horse I’ve trained and I also had Miss Pelear when I was training with ‘Kiwi’ (his father). Simply Optimistic could be right up there. He’s only had 10 starts and won four of them and he has still been learning.” Nightlign was bred by his mother Lyn and before being sold to Hong Kong he was unbeaten in his three New Zealand juvenile starts, with his victory in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) earning him the 2007 Champion New Zealand Two-Year-Old Award, while Miss Pelear’s wins included the 2013 Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie.
Hawtin began training in the 2006-07 season with his father, who had topped the New Zealand Trainers Premiership twice when in partnership with Graeme Rogerson. Hawtin branched out on his own account when his father handed in his trainers’ license in 2015 and has now netted 161 wins in New Zealand. “The highlight so far was getting that win in Sydney with Simply Optimistic,” he said. “I took a gamble and it paid off. “Now I’ve got the opportunity to carry on from there in Aussie.”