Leading Melbourne trainer David Hayes has both Zululand and Forgive And Forget in the 2014 McNeil Stakes and he is expecting both horses to perform well in the Group 3 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Zululand started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fast-finishing fifth in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 16 and Hayes believes that the Fastnet Rock colt would have finished significantly closer to the winner if he hadn’t been blocked for a run in the final stages of the race.
Hayes told RSN this morning that Zululand had taken plenty of benefit from his first-up run and he is confident that the three-year-old will be flying home late in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
“He has thrived,” Hayes said.
“He was a bit unlucky, I think that he should have gone pretty close first-up, so hopefully he has got the run in him and he can put himself on target for the Golden Rose.
“With a clear run in transit I think that he really will be hitting the line and I think he has taken a giant step from his two-year-old year that was pretty good.”
Forgive And Forget won the Victorian Carbine Club Plate (1000m) at Flemington on May 24 in his only start as a two-year-old, but he was slightly disappointing when eighth in the Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 2.
Hayes said that he is happy to put a line through the first-up run of Forgive and Forget because he failed to handle the Moonee Valley circuit and he feels that the Tale Of The Cat gelding will produce a much improved performance in the McNeil Stakes this weekend.
“He missed the start and was wide,” Hayes said.
“He actually ran very good sectionals and it was a much better run than it looked.
“If he steps well he will race on the pace, not get back, and be very competitive for a long way.
“He is huge overs, but he will probably hit his best form when he hits seven furlongs.”
The McNeil Stakes betting market has opened up significantly following the scratching of Nostradamus this morning, but Zululand ($11) and Forgive And Forget ($21) are both available at double figure odds in the betting market for the Group 2 event.