While punters hit out at the upgrade of the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) earlier this week, one man who was happy with the move was Victorian trainer David Hayes.
With the improved status and a $50,000 prizemoney increase to $350,000, the race became the most logical option for Hayes to kick off classy import Jet Away’s spring campaign.
“It was always one of the [first-up] options but that just confirmed it as the actual option,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
Hayes is aiming the rising seven-year-old at the Caulfield Cup and said the weight-for-age Makybe Diva, to be held at Flemington on September 7, is an excellent place to begin that mission.
The former British galloper is unbeaten in two starts for Hayes, beginning his Australian career impressively with a barnstorming 1 1/2 length triumph in March’s Golden Mile at Bendigo.
A son of Cape Cross, Jet Away then acquitted himself at Group 3 level to claim the Easter Cup at Caulfield, leaving Hayes with no hesitations about aiming at one of the nation’s biggest races.
“Most of the imports I’ve ever trained, and I’ve trained a lot of them that have won those big races, they haven’t showed as much as him in their first prep,” Hayes said.
“Nine times out of 10 they’re better in their second, which is a good sign.”
Jet Away was a Listed winner in the UK and also ran second at Group 3 level in the Lancaster Stakes.
He is currently listed as an $11 chance in the Caulfield Cup market, with classy Kiwi It’s A Dundeel the $7 favourite.