Trainer John McNair has told of his concern for the mental fitness of Hay List ahead of this Saturday’s Doomben 10,000 in Brisbane.
The trainer says that while Hay List is “physically fantastic” the horse is giving off signs that he has had enough this preparation.
“He looks terrific,” McNair said.
“I’m just a little concerned about his mental aspect.
“He’s not as happy as he was when he arrived (in Brisbane).”
Hay List has demonstrated his unrest to McNair by acting up in his stall.
“I know the horse that well; he’s a little more anxious than normal,” McNair said.
“He’s picking at his water bucket.
“He pulls the hay out of his hay net and is spreading it in his box.
“He normally doesn’t do those sorts of things.
“There’s just a few little things.”
Despite only being five races into his current preparation, Hay List has felt the stress of moving from state to state to compete.
“I think the real relevant fact that those (five runs) have been in three different states,” McNair said.
“If he were at home I wouldn’t have a problem getting 12 or 20 runs in a preparation.”
McNair is attempting to keep the horse stimulated by varying his daily routine.
“You’ve got to work him more than a normal horse because of his appetite,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do is try to change things around a bit.
“We rarely go to the same place 2 days running.
“That’s the key to keeping horses mentally active.”
McNair is hopeful that the mental set-back will not hinder the five-year-old’s chances in this weekend’s race.
“He’s still a happy horse,” McNair said.
“Shane Scriven had a ride on him this morning and reported that he worked well.”
McNair enlisted Scriven to ride Hay List in case regular jockey Glyn Schofield was ever unable to ride the horse due to injury again.
“It would be nice for him to have some experience on the horse,” McNair said.
“You never know when we might have to call on him.”
McNair has opted to stay out of racing tactics, choosing instead to leave that entirely up to the jockey.
“I’m going to leave the riding up to Glen Schofield,” McNair said.
“I guess barriers will come into it as well.
“I’m not going to interfere with Glen riding the horse.
“I do my thing and he does his.”
However, the trainer is speculating that Hay List may in fact be the early leader.
“(Robert Heathcote’s) Buffering might need to be ridden a bit quieter to ride the 1400 metres out,” McNair said.
“You would think that at weight-for-age that (Hay List) would get a soft lead.”
McNair will be waiting until Hay List pulls up from his Doomben 10,000 run before he decides whether to press on to the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap on June 11.
“If he were to win the (Doomben) 10,000 really well and pull up well then there’s a fair chance that he’ll go on to the Stradbroke,” McNair said.
Brisbane Racing Club’s chief executive Stephen Ferguson has been holding discussions with McNair in the attempt of convincing him to run Hay List in the Stradbroke.
“I know Stephen Ferguson has put in a fair bit of work,” McNair said.
While many believe Hay List- who would carry 57 kilograms- would be a certain winner should he compete in the Stradbroke, McNair believes otherwise.
“I don’t believe he’s a certainty because there are horses there like Buffering on 51 (kilograms),” he said.
And when it comes to a possible showdown with international sprinter Rocket Man in the Spring, McNair is choosing to reserve his judgement on the result.
“I don’t like to be overconfident,” he said.
“I would say (Hay List would beat Rocket Man), but I’ve been very confident of beating Black Caviar in the past and been wrong.
“I think I’d beat him but I thought I’d beat Black Caviar.”
Hay List has been allocated one less point in the international ratings than Rocket Man.
“They’ve rated Rocket Man one point above Hay List,” McNair said.
“They must have their reason for doing that.
“Their figures probably don’t lie.”
Hay List will be attempting to win his 15th race from 21 starts when he takes to the track for the Doomben 10,000 on Saturday.