Newmarket Handicap winner Hay List is on target for an Autumn return to racing after missing the Spring Carnival because of injury.
Hay List has been in light work for several weeks after recovering from a knee operation as a result of an injury the sprinter sustained when recovering from emergency surgery form colic in April.
Top jockey Glyn Schofield reported that Hay List was back to normal after riding the seven year old in a gallop at Gosford on Tuesday morning.
“I went up there mindful that he was coming back from a life threatening injury and when I cantered him off I was very surprised because he felt just like the normal Hay List,” Schofield said.
“Once I got him up into a bit of speed I could feel he was a little bit sensitive, cautious, which I was glad he was because I didn’t want him going flat out and doing harm, but in no way was he unsound.
“Honestly, I couldn’t believe he felt as good as he did.”
Gosford trainer John McNair has had more than his fair share of problems with his stable star and apart from running into champion mare Black Caviar on several occasions, Hay List has also had his time on the sidelines through injury.
During the 2011 Brisbane Winter Carnival McNair had to scratch Hay List because of a leg infection on the eve of the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben for which he was favourite after finishing second to Black Caviar in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben two weeks prior.
But McNair is confident Hay List is over his last setback and has picked out the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill in March as his comeback race.
“March, the Challenge Stakes is the plan,” McNair said.
“All is going to plan. He’ll be in light work for the next four or five weeks before getting serious with him”.
Hay List has finished second at Group 1 level to the world’s number sprinter Black Caviar on four occasions but has managed three Group 1 victories to establish himself as one of the top sprinters in Australia.
In Black Caviar’s absence, Hay List was able to win the 2010 $500,000 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, the 2011 Group 1 $400,000 Daily Telegraph All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and the 2012 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
To date Hay List has accumulated over $2.5m in prizemoney for fifteen wins from twenty-three starts with regular rider Schofield aboard for five of his wins since entering McNair’s stable in 2010 with Chris Munce and Glen Boss also sharing a win each on the giant sprinter.