Trainer John McNair has opted to rest his top sprinter Hay List from this Saturday’s Challenge Stakes and head to the T J Smith without another run.
McNair stressed that Hay List had pulled up well after his shock defeat to Foxwedge in the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night and a three week break in-between runs is not a problem.
“As far as his attitude and well-being is concerned, he could easily have started in Saturday’s race as the horse is exceptionally well. But he did have a three-week break between the Lightning Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap and that worked out well,” McNair said.
“So, we are going to try and replicate that going into T.J. Smith Stakes as that race has been his main target all along this campaign.”
NcNair said if Hay List started in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill and then ran in the Group 1 $1m T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 14 he would have to saddle up three times in five weeks and this was not ideal.
“If he runs in the Challenge, then when he gets to the T.J. Smith at Randwick, it would be his third start in five weeks and I don’t believe that is the right preparation for the horse,” he said.
These plans will no doubt please regular rider Glyn Schofield who would have had to forego the ride on his favourite horse because of commitments to ride for South African trainer Herman Brown at the Dubai World Cup meeting this weekend.
The non-appearance of Hay List on Saturday opens up the way for boom Sydney sprinter Rain Affair to bounce back after his defeat in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10.
The Joe Pride trained Rain Affair didn’t seem comfortable down the straight at Flemington when sixth to Hay List and will be more at home at Rosehill where he scored two scintillating wins before going to Melbourne.
Rain Affair has drawn barrier three in the seven horse Challenge Stakes and Pride is hoping for a little bit of rain to enhance his chances.
“A bit of rain would be nice. Five to ten millimetres over Wednesday, Thursday, Friday would be enough,” Pride said.
Rain Affair has come through his trip to Melbourne okay and Pride has been pleased with the four year olds work since returning to Sydney.
“He’s put in a couple of good gallops and hopefully he can bounce back,” Pride said.
“He’s come through the Melbourne experience well. There’s been no change in his attitude which is good.”
Pride will saddle up two runners in the small field and stable mate Neeson will be wearing blinkers for the first time after failing to beat a runner home when favourite in the Group 3 $125,000 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm on March 10.
“It will be his first go with the blinkers on,” Pride said.
“He trialled in them the other day and he looked like a superstar.”
“I’ve been told to put them on before by a couple of jockeys but I’ve kept holding off waiting for this race and then the TJ Smith.”
Top Sydney rider Corey Brown will again partner Rain Affair with Melbourne jockey Michael Rodd taking over from Jay Ford on Neeson.