Lindsay Park’s head trainer David Hayes is not ruling out another blowout for the punters when he saddles up longshot Ventura Storm in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hayes has prepared three Caulfield Cup winners, all at double figure odds with Fraar ($31, 1993), Tawqeet ($17, 2006) and last year when he teamed up with his son Ben Hayes and nephew Tom Dabernig with $51 outsider Boom Time.
Hayes said that Ventura Storm is peaking at the right time and he thinks the bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au are off the mark having the European import at $26, but he is happy to go into the Caulfield Cup as one of the outsiders.
“The only time I win this race when no one keeps me a chance,” Hayes told The Age.
“I tell you they better look out for this horse because he is a different horse now to what he was when he arrived. He is definitely better.”
“He has got better with each of his three runs this time and he was only 1-3/4 lengths from Winx in the Turnbull at his last run. Youngstar and Kings Will Dream were the only horses to beat him home other than a champion and they are the favourites,” Hayes said.
“I think they have totally got it wrong with him. He should be much closer to them in the betting.
“This is a race where I have had favourites and had about four seconds, but it seems when they write me off I win it.”
Hayes believes that Ventura Storm is going a lot better this year than twelve months ago when he ran thirteenth to Boom Time in last year’s Caulfield Cup.
The Hall Of Fame trainer points to the fact that Ventura Storm finished four and a half lengths closer to Winx when fourth in this year’s Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6 than he did in last year’s version when he was six and a half lengths second to the mighty mare.
“Last year he went into this race off being a 6-1/2 length runner-up to Winx in the Turnbull, this year he was beaten 1-3/4 lengths, that is pretty much how much he has improved,” Hayes said.
“I was confident that Boom Time would run first five last year and this bloke can do the same.
“He has been set for this race and will run a huge race.”
Ventura Storm finished well down the track when twenty-first in last year’s Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and subsequently was gelded as well as having a wind operation after his 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign and Hayes said he is now an easier horse to train.
“He was gelded after the Melbourne Cup last year and it takes older horses a while to get over that operation and I feel he is just getting there now,” Hayes said.
“He had the wind op after the Sydney Cup in the autumn and we have seen the benefits in this preparation. We can train him how we want.”
Regan Bayliss gets the ride on Ventura Storm will jump from barrier ten in the final eighteen horse Caulfield Cup field if both of the emergencies fail to get a run.
The Darren Weir trained Kings Will Dream has been impressive with three Group 1 placings from his last three starts and holds his spot at the top of the market order at $5, just ahead of the Chris Waller trained Youngstar at $6.
The two favourites finished side by side last start when Youngstar and Kings Will Dream ran second and third behind super mare Winx in the Turnbull Stakes a fortnight ago.