Injury-prone sprinter Hay List and battle scarred jockey Glyn Schofield will both have to pass a race day fitness test before being allow to team up to tackle a slick field in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm tomorrow.
Hay List is having his first run for almost twelve months following a string of injuries and Schofield is hoping to make a quick recovery from a back problem after aggravating an old injury at Canterbury races on Wednesday.
Trainer John McNair was forced to give Hay List a lengthy spell after the giant sprinter suffered a bout of colic followed by knee surgery and hasn’t raced since running second to Foxwedge in the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last March.
The Gosford trainer has also been faced with feet problems for Hay List as he prepared him for his comeback run tomorrow.
The seven year old pulled up with some heat in his troublesom hoof after galloping in between races at Warwick Farm last Saturday with Schofield aboard.
McNair has had Hay List checked out by his own vet at Gosford but Racing New South Wales Senior Official Veterinarian, Dr Craig Suann will also conduct an inspection when he arrives on course tomorrow.
A statement released by Racing New South Wales stated that “The gelding has this week been treated for an infection to the near hind hoof, however, Mr McNair is pleased with his progress and Hay List does not require corrective shoeing going into tomorrow’s race.”
“John has told us he is very happy with the horse’s work and having come this far he’s not going to take any chances with him,” Deputy chief steward Greg Rudolph said.
“If for some reason Hay List is not one hundred per cent right, he’s not going to risk him.”
Schofield had to forego his last ride at Canterbury on Wednesday after aggravating an old back injury but is confident he will be fit to ride tomorrow.
“It is an injury I did about two months ago and I have been receiving treatment and it has been feeling good,” Schofield said.
“It just went again and it is quite sore but I’m sure it will be right for Saturday.”
Schofield rates Hay List the best sprinter he has ridden and expects his class will carry him through even if he is not rock hard in race condition.
“He certainly isn’t at his peak fitness-wise but class can take these horses a long way,” Schofield said.
“There is no doubting he is the best sprinter I’ve ever ridden and that includes Cape Of Good Hope in Hong Kong.”
Punters have thrown their confidence behind Hay List and he has come up the $2.90 favourite for the Challenge Stakes ahead of three year old filly Snitzerland at $4.60 and local sprinter Tiger Tees at $5.50.
Oakleigh Plate winner Mrs Onassis is on the next line of betting at $11 just ahead of Howmuchdoyouloveme at $13 and the Peter Moody trained Gold Archer at $15.