Hay List has battled valiantly for John McNair throughout 2011 but it looks like the Doomben 10,000 could be his last assignment before a spell.
McNair said earlier today that he would not be seeking a start in the Stradbroke Handicap despite not being dealt with too harshly by the handicappers.
“We’ve made a decision that we think we’ll give the Stradbroke a miss, ” he said.
“It was always our intention to run him in the 10,000 then give him a break and run him in the spring.”
Hay List was given 57.5kg in the race, that’s 3kg less than Black Caviar who is also very unlikely to run.
In fact on paper it would seem the race is ideally suited to the big gelding who has proven himself over all the other top runners.
McNair though is more concerned about his future preparations and not willing to risk it all for one event.
“If we go to the Stradbroke instead of giving him a five week break which he needs he’ll only get three weeks,” he said.
“I need the spelling time to rectify the problems that he’s had, we’ll jeopardise that if we go on to the Stradbroke.”
Hay List is coming off yet another defeat at the hands of Black Caviar however McNair seemed content with the run and was thrilled to be part of such a huge day.
“That’s probably the first time I’ve been to a racecourse where the admin have actually miscounted people.” He said.
“There was more than 20,000 there.”
He realised just how important the day was going to be well before the gates had even opened.
“I drove past at 9:15 and people were walking passed to line up then, it was nothing short of extraordinary,” he said.
As for the state of Hay List McNair thinks the Doomben 10,000 could be a tighter contest yet again.
“He’s improved, I couldn’t be happier with him, he’s pulled up that well that I’ll gallop with him tomorrow,” he said.
As for launching another attack on Black Caviar McNair is unusually understated.
“Unless she’s bottomed out from that run on Saturday it’s hard to see us beating her,” he said.
“We know ours has pulled up well and his attitude is just fantastic.”
While he seems content with his decision to not contest the Stradbroke, the lure of a Group 1 is often hard to rule out altogether.
“he’d have to go out and do something amazing on Saturday,” he said.
“I’m confident we’re not going to run but there is still that door slightly ajar.”
As for the seemingly inevitable clashes with Black Caviar once again during the spring McNair may finally seek a different route.
“We’ll probably meet up again in one of those sprints down there but where I can I’ll probably look to find a program a little bit away from her,” he said.