An impressive exhibition gallop at Wyong last Thursday has prompted trainer John McNair to aim his grand sprinter Hay List towards the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
Even though Hay List wasn’t pushed out by Glyn Schofield as he galloped in between races at Wyong, the top Sydney jockey reported that the seven year old felt good as he strolled down the straight under a tight hold.
NcNair turned his attention to Sydney for Hay List’s return to the racetrack after recovery from knee surgery when he ruled out a start in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9.
Hay List won last year’s Newmarket with 58.5kg and is expected to receive one kilo more forcing McNair to turn down a chance of attempting to win back to back sprints.
“I wasn’t happy when he had 58-1/2 last year so with 59-1/2 he’s no hope in the wide world,” McNair said.
“If he’s ready for the Challenge, that’s where we’d like to run him.”
“I’d like to run him in a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on the 26th if I can get a trial on the course proper.
“If there’s any hint he’s not ready for that or the Challenge, we’ll back off.
McNair was more than happy with the way Hay List presented himself at Wyong and the manner in which the giant sprinter pulled up after his workout.
“His demeanour and attitude are great. He really enjoyed the day out and I’m excited,” McNair said.
McNair still has his eye on the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith at Randwick on April 13 but is concerned that the 1200m weight for age race is four weeks after the Challenge.
“I’d like to run him in the T J Smith but that’s four weeks after the Challenge and there’s not a suitable race in between,” McNair said.
“But it all depends on him.”
Another trip to Brisbane for the Winter Carnival could also be on the agenda with the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) and the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) both at Doomben in May also an option.
“I’ll have a look at Brisbane but he needs to run at weight-for-age,” McNair said.
“It’s all about protecting the horse.”
With the possibility that the world’s number one sprinter Black Caviar will be following the same weight for age path in Sydney and Brisbane, racegoers will be in for a racing bonanza.
Premier trainer Peter Moody was more than happy with Black Caviar after the mighty mare completed an 800m gallop in between races at Caulfield on Saturday and is likely to resume in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16.
“She was happy to be here, wasn’t she? That’s all I was looking for,” Moody said.
“I was really pleased with her. The work didn’t worry me, I just wanted to see her enjoy herself.
“She didn’t turn a hair, she was happy. She travelled beautifully and her action was sweet.”
The two great sprinters have matched up against each other on five occasions at Group 1 level with Hay List finishing runner up four times as well as once unplaced.
One of those occasions was a second to the mighty mare in the 2011 T J Smith as well as two seconds in the $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington and a second in the $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben in 2011.