A total of 257 nominations has been received for the 10-race program, which carries record prizemoney of $1,435,000.
"With the addition of the Midway Handicap to Saturday metropolitan racedays, this will be the first time Hawkesbury stages 10 races at our stand-alone fixture," Heddo said this morning.
"And to receive that number of entries right across the board is outstanding.
"All the leading stables are represented, and it is shaping as an outstanding day.
"Course manager Rick Johnston has rated the track a 'Soft 7' today, and we're hoping to get to a 'Soft 6' if the weather is on our side this week."
This will be Hawkesbury's 17th Saturday stand-alone since it was inaugurated in 2006 when nine races were run for prizemoney of $540,000.
Only one Listed race figured on that program, but such has been the progress of the stand-alone meeting that it now boasts three Group 3s ($200,000 Richmond Club Hawkesbury Gold Cup, $200,000 Blacktown Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas, and $175,000 Pioneer Services Hawkesbury Crown) along with the Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush.
Twenty-seven horses have been entered for the 1600m Cup, 31 for the 1300m fillies and mares' Crown, 21 for the 1400m Guineas, and 19 for the 1100m Rush.
Team Hawkes' Archedemus is back to defend his Gold Cup title, and the stable is following a similar program to last year when the resilient veteran landed the feature for Josh Parr at his third run back.
He also won the race in 2019 when in the care of leading Kembla Grange trainer Gwenda Markwell.
Team Hawkes has put its stamp on the Gold Cup in the last decade, winning four of the last eight editions.
Leebaz was successful in 2014, followed by Kingsguard (2018), Amangiri (2019) and Archedemus last year.
Other feature Hawkesbury winners last year were the recently deceased Exoboom in the Guineas for Team Snowden and Sam Clipperton, Sweet Deal in the Crown for John Thompson and Nash Rawiller, and Embracer in the Gold Rush for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott. and Tim Clark.
. Nominations (currently 13) for the $130,000 2YO Clarendon Stakes (1400m) have been extended until 11am tomorrow.