Hay List’s Autumn campaign could be in jeopardy if trainer John McNair decides against a start in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 9.
The top sprinter carried 58.5kgs to a memorable victory over Buffering in last year’s Newmarket, but McNair said he wouldn’t line up this year after being informed that he would have to carry one kilo more.
“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.
Hay List hasn’t raced for almost twelve months since finishing second to Foxwedge in the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23 and has spent the majority of that time recuperating from knee surgery following a fall when recovering from a colic attack.
McNair will keep the seven year old to a weight for age program with the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 13 a likely target with McNair looking for a suitable lead up race.
“The challenge Stakes is the only weight-for-age race in Sydney that is suitable but it’s four weeks before the TJ,” McNair said.
“I’ll have a look at Brisbane and Melbourne but he needs to run at weight-for-age.
“It’s all about protecting the horse.”
McNair is happy with the progress of his Group 1 winner and regular rider Glyn Schofield will make one of his periodic trips to Gosford to partner Hay List in another track gallop.
“I’d like to give him a barrier trial before he races but where that will be is also a problem,’ McNair said.
“I don’t want to trial him on a course where he has to pull up on a crossing which rules a few out.
“If needs be we can organise our own trial on my track up here.”
Racing fans were anticipating another clash between the world’s two top sprinters with Peter Moody indicating that Black Caviar could be a surprise starter in the Newmarket if she was treated reasonably by the handicapper.
The two great sprinters have matched up against each other on five occasions at Group 1 level with Hay List finishing runner up four times as well as once unplaced.
One of those occasions was a second to the mighty mare in the 2011 T J Smith as well as two seconds in the $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington and a second in the $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben in 2011.