David Hayes has both Spillway and Rawnaq in the 2014 Zipping Classic field and the in-form trainer is happy with both horses heading into the Group 2 event at Sandown this weekend.
Spillway was touted as a leading Caulfield Cup contender after he finished second in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 16 and fourth in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13, but he missed on a start in the race after he finished seventh in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20 and a disappointing ninth in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 4.
The Rail Link entire returned to his best form with a fast-finishing fourth behind Happy Trails in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1 and Hayes believes that the four-year-old can produced an improved performance over 2400 metres if he is given a quieter ride by jockey Dwayne Dunn in the 2014 Zipping Classic.
“I am very happy with him,” Hayes said.
“I thought his run was one of the better losing runs in the Mackinnon and he has trained right on.
“I am looking forward to seeing him at a mile and a half ridden more conservatively.”
Rawnaq finished fifth behind Tanby in the 2012 edition of the Zipping Classic as a three-year-old and Hayes has opted to give him another crack at the $350,000 race.
The Redoute’s Choice gelding returned to racing as a gelding with a fifth place finish in the Mayoral Charity Community Handicap (1500m) at Moonee Valley on October 3 before he recorded just the second race win of his career in the Racing.Com Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15.
Rawnaq finished seventh in the Secondbite Plate (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday, but Hayes believes that the performance was better than it looked on paper and he is confident that the five-year-old can produce an improved performance this weekend.
“Rawnaq ran very well; the way that race was run the other day he was set an impossible task,” Hayes said.
“Mile and a half is his preferred distance.
“A couple of years ago he ran fourth in this race and I think this is a much weaker race.”
Spillway is currently available at Zipping Classic odds of $4 and Rawnaq is priced at $17, while Prince Of Penzance remains a clear favourite in Zipping Classic betting markets.