Newmarket Handicap winner Hay List continues to take positive steps on the comeback trail with a barrier trial win at Randwick today.
Hay List hasn’t started since running second to Foxwedge in the last year’s Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in March and had to miss the Winter and the Spring because of injury.
Trainer John McNair has taken Hay List along very steady in preparation for the his return to the racetrack and today’s 800m trial win over Fontelina and Miss Stellabelle is one step closer to a start in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
McNair still has a little more work to get Hay List right and will give the giant sprinter another barrier trial and a trip to Sydney for another gallop.
“He will have another trial at Warwick Farm next week,” McNair said.
“It’s three weeks to the Challenge so I’d like to bring him back to Sydney and maybe give him a gallop on a raceday to get the juices flowing.”
“I couldn’t be happier. He got through everything in great shape.”
McNair reported that Hay List arrived home safely to his Gosford stable and has been given the all clear after being checked out by two veterinary surgeons.
“Craig Suann and Nick Kannegieter checked him over and they were happy,” McNair said.
“It’s a big day out for the horse and it’s good to get there and back safely.”
McNair had thoughts of trying to win back to back Newmarket Handicaps but dismissed that when he was informed that Hay List would be given 59.5kg, one kilo more than he carried to victory last year.
“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.
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.”
A start in the weight for age T J Smith could see a clash with Black Caviar who returned to the racetrack in dynamic style last Saturday with a record breaking win in the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington.
The world’s number one sprinter took her undefeated run to twenty-three wins when she broke Special’s long standing track record to set the new mark at 55.42s for the 1000m dash down the Flemington straight.
Another trip to Brisbane for the Winter Carnival could also be on the agenda for Hay List 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.