Kawi gave another flawless performance on the big stage under the master direction of Allan Sharrock to edge a step closer to a trip to Australia.
The high-class son of Savabeel overcame an interrupted preparation to successfully defend his title in the group one Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings yesterday and bag the fourth top-flight victory of his career.
"It's very satisfying - it was a challenge, but I knew I had the horse to do it with," Sharrock said.
Kawi will return to Hawke's Bay on September 17 for the group one Windsor Park Plate before a decision is made on an overseas campaign.
"We'll be looking at Melbourne, but he will definitely be here for the second leg first," Sharrock said.
Kawi's lead-up to the Makfi was a chequered one with a bruised cannon bone denying him a lead-up run in the group two Foxbridge Plate and last week it was revealed that the six-year-old had also undergone surgery to correct a wind issue.
"I wouldn't have done that if I didn't think it would have improved him," Sharrock said. "He's in grand condition."
Kawi jumped well from an outside gate for rider Leith Innes to take up a midfield spot before they made their move nearing the home bend.
"It was a great effort and he dominated that field," Sharrock said. "I left it up to Leith and he ended up logically where I thought he would. At weight-for-age, he's the best horse."
Kawi let down strongly in the run home to charge to the front 100 metres from home for a decisive victory.
"It was a very good effort and hats off to Allan - he was a fit horse today," Innes said.
"He won pretty easily in the end and with that run under his belt and a faster track on the second day, he's going to be hard to beat again."
Longshots El Pescado and Farm Boy were second and third respectively ahead of Longchamp and Authentic Paddy.
- NZ Racing Desk