Lindsay Park trainer David Hayes expects a change of riding tactics will see his expensive colt Wilderness perform better in the Group 2 $175,000 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Wilderness was purchased for $2.4 million at the 2013 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sales and missed a place when he stepped out for the first time at Bendigo on March 15.
The Fastnet Rock colt was ridden too close to the lead according to Hayes when he finished fourth to Eloping in the $250,000 UAM P/L VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m).
Wilderness was beaten just over seven lengths behind the runaway winner Eloping who put a gap of six lengths between her and the runner up Jarklin.
“He was ridden too close at Bendigo, far too close,” Hayes told Racing Network.
“I’m expecting with different riding tactics we’ll get a different result,” Hayes added.
Wilderness had shown Hayes plenty of promise with three barrier trial wins racing on the pace including a trial win over 850m at Canterbury before he made his race debut at Bendigo.
But Hayes will be insisting on a change of tactics and instructing his jockey to settle the colt further back in the field than at Bendgo.
Wilderness will have to win the Pago Pago Stakes to gain entry into the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 5 but even an improved showing will give Hayes confidence to head to the Group 1 $1m Inglis ATC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 12.
Hayes has also nominated first starter Petrology for the Pago Pago Stakes but is likely to start the Fastnet Rock colt at Mornington on Wednesday in the 1200m two year old Handicap.
The Hall Of Fame trainer could also back up Clifton Red in the Group 2 $175,000 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) after the Sebring filly finished seventh to Earthquake in the Group 2 $300,000 Parramatta Leagues Club Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Hayes has also nominated For Lulu for the Magic Night but has already sent the filly to the paddock after developing some shin soreness.
“Clifton Red is a good chance of backing-up, as long as she keeps eating this week, but For Lulu has been turned out – she’s gone shin-sore,” Hayes said.
The Pago Pago Stakes for the colts and gelding and the Magic Night Stakes for the fillies is the last chance for the two year olds to secure a run in the Golden Slipper with the winner of each race exempt from the ballot for the richest two year old race in the world.