David Hayes is set to have both Moonlight Hussler and Zululand in the Group 3 Vain Stakes(1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday and the leading Melbourne trainer is happy with the condition of both of his gallopers.
Zululand will be returning to the races for the first time since he finished second behind Go Indy Go in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 26 and Hayes believes that the son of Fastnet Rock has returned from the spelling paddock as a much stronger horses.
The talented colt showed his best form as a juvenile over 1400 metres and a mile, highlighted by his win in the Group 2 Henry Bucks Sires Produce Stakes (1400m), but Hayes is still confident he will be able to perform well in the Vain Stakes this weekend.
“He is a horse that last prep found the 1100 too short, but I think with maturity and experience he will be able to sprint well fresh,” Hayes said.
“If trackwork is any guide, he has improved a lot and we have really got the Guineas in mind for him.”
Moonlight Hussler scored an upset win on debut in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 12, but was ruled out of the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing after he suffered an injury during trackwork.
The Hussonet colt made his first public appearance as a three-year-old when he finished third behind Simmering and Nisos in a barrier trial over 990 metres and Cranbourne on August 4 and Hayes believes that he has fully recovered from the injury, but may find the Vain Stakes a bit too short first-up.
“He won from a wide barrier in his first start and was very impressive, but he injured himself building up for the Blue Diamond,” Hayes said.
“He has had a long spell, but he seems to be coming back extremely well and look for him running home late.
“I am hoping that he is a horse for the spring as well.”
Moonlight Hussler opened at odds of $8.50 in the Vain Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes Australia, but has drifted out to $10, while Zululand has also been a drifter in betting and he is out to a price of $14 after opening at $12.
Hayes was unlucky not to win the 2013 edition of the Vain Stakes after Fast ‘N’ Rocking was blocked for a run in the final stages of the race.