Hay List is looking to regain his sprinting crown in the Group 2 $175,000 Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The John McNair trained six year old had his colours lowered last Friday night at Moonee Valley when Foxwedge was able to run down the short priced favourite to score by three quarters of a length in the Group 1 $400,000 Power Tracker William Reid Stakes (1200m).
Hay List was cleared of a hoof injury which he suffered early in the week and was passed fit to run in the William Reid by Racing Victoria’s veterinary surgeon Brian Stewart.
Foxwedge had finished two lengths behind Hay List in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 and was meeting the topweight on six kilos worst terms but was still able to finish over the top of him.
Rider Glyn Schofield told stewards after the race that he was not sure if it was Hay List’s hoof injury or the fact that he had had a hard run with 58.5kgs in the Newmarket the start before.
“He travelled so sweetly, but when I let him go he just disappeared underneath me,” Schofield told the stewards.
“Whether he was jaded by the Newmarket or the foot, I don’t know, but mix it all together and that is what you get.”
McNair is looking to give Hay List another start before the Group 1 $1m T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 14 and the Challenge Stakes fits in with that plan.
Hay List will be coming up against local sprinter Rain Affair on home soil after he failed to produce his best in the Newmarket.
The Joe Pride trained four year old had strung together nine wins on the trot in Sydney but looked lost galloping down the Flemington straight for the first time.
Rain Affair had created a buzz in Sydney’s racing circles with two scintillating wins at Group 2 level in the $200,000 TAB Sportsbet Expressway Stakes at Rosehill on February 11 and the $250,000 Hako Australia Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on February 25 before heading to Melbourne.
The Challenge Stakes has attracted a smart field of sprinters including Pride’s other speedster Neeson, Bel Sprinter who was scratched from the Newmarket on race morning, the Peter Moody trained Curtana and Elite Falls from the in-form John O’Shea stable.
Mornington trainer Jason Warren is satisfied that Bel Sprinter has recovered from a slight leg injury which saw miss the Newmarket and will head to Sydney during the week.
“He’s still got a small wound on his hind leg but it’s got a scab on it now and it’s nice and settled and not a concern at this stage,” Warren said.
“He’s in good order. He’ll have his final gallop tomorrow morning at Mornington the reverse way and then head up to Sydney.”
“He’s done a lot of his work the reverse way and has handled it super.”
“This trip away will do him the world of good. It will just bring him back on again after having a bit of time off.”
Jockey Ben Melham has partnered Bel Sprinter in all his five wins and will be back aboard the four year old in the Challenge Stakes on Saturday.