With John McNair certain that he will not run Hay List in the Stradbroke Handicap next month it is all hands on deck to ensure the five-year-old is at the top of his game for his next showdown with Black Caviar in the Doomben 10,000 on May 28.
McNair decided to pull Hay List out of the Stradbroke Handicap field, where he was second favourite, in order to give him a long enough spell before his spring campaign.
“I was going to pull up stumps after the T.J. Smith because I think the horse needs a spell,” McNair said.
“If he does that after the Stradbroke he only gets three weeks whereas if we spell after the 10,000 he gets five.”
McNair also said that the weights had a lot to do with Hay List’s withdrawal.
“He’s got 57.5kg in the Stradbroke and still going to meet horses like Buffering more than five kilos worse than the other day,” McNair said.
“We finished nearly five lengths in front of Buffering but over 1400m with that lighter weight if I were a betting man I know who I’d be backing.”
Despite the fact the McNair was close to admitting defeat after their BTC Cup clash last weekend, the trainer is hoping to have one last crack at Black Caviar in two weeks’ time.
“Given we’re going to give the Stradbroke a miss I’ll tighten the screws right up on him which I’ve never really done before,” McNair said.
“So I’m hoping I can get him to his top.
“I’ve been reluctant to go too far with him because all you’re doing is shortening the preparation.
“I’ve kept something in the locker in the past but for Saturday week he’ll be as fit as I can get him.”