Outstanding sprinter Hay List rewrote the record books in winning the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington today.
Hay List carried 58.5kg to victory, a modern day weight carrying record for a Newmarket Handicap winner when he overpowered Buffering to score by a short head in the time of 1.8.72.
Sydney three year old Foxwedge, who ran a mighty race for third, carried eight and a half kilos less than the winner.
Second favourite Rain Affair, who came to Melbourne with a great record, raced in the lead but didn’t seem to handle the Flemington straight and was under pressure a long way from home.
Winning trainer John McNair has done a great job with Hay List to bring him back from serious injury to win one of the most prestigious races on the Australian racing calendar in the absence of the mighty mare Black Caviar.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing and at one stage McNair was not keen to come to Melbourne and was very critical of the huge impost Hay List was given by the handicapper.
Part owner Peter Davenport was quick to praise the effort of McNair.
“It’s a great horse and great effort from John,” Davenport said.
Top Sydney jockey Glyn Schofield was able to settle Hay List in behind Foxwedge to get some cover before easing into the clear at the clock tower.
Hay List then set out after Buffering and was able to run down the Robert Heathcote trained sprinter to score a narrow but history making victory.
“I knew the bulk of the runners would go to the inside. We were a few lengths off them going through the half way and I was just trying to make sure he wouldn’t over race and I just trying to fight him to get back in behind Foxwedge and get a trail off that horse,” Schofield said.
“He got to the front inside the last furlong, he felt it you know and fortunately he didn’t have that one mare to chase down today and he was a history maker today.”
The punters stuck with Hay List, sending him out the $3.80 favourite, with runner up Buffering starting at $21.
Second favourite Rain Affair ($5.50) never looked comfortable in the lead and fought on okay to end up in sixth spot, two and a half lengths away.