David Hayes has long been one of the main features at the top of training in Australia but by his own standards last season was one to forget.
He languished well down the leader board in the trainers premiership and with only a few dozen wins it was a long way off what he has achieved in the past.
Despite this he knows he has the ability to make amends this season and he’s confident of once again making his mark during the big carnivals.
“I trained six Group 1’s the year before,” he said.
“We’re in between facilities and we’ve got some nice chances coming up so it’s going well.”
As he said 2010 / 2011 was very much a transition year for Hayes, his tough 12 months hopefully now reaping the rewards as his stable grows to maximum capacity.
As it stands he has 40 staff on hand at any one time creating a great ratio of people to horses and ensuring each one receives plenty of attention.
He says he won’t take on any more than 120 horses at one time so this scenario stays the same and he’s not spread too thin.
One set of staff he doesn’t have on the pay roll are stable jockeys, Hayes instead choosing to keep his options open.
“I’m very much a freelance stable but Steven Arnold and Brad Rawiller get the chance for the heavy weights, both are great guys to work with,” he said.
One rider who loomed as the closest thing to a stable jockey was Dwayne Dunn with which Hayes developed a strong partnership.
“I had a great relationship with Dwayne over the years, I think I’ve trained most of his Group 1 winners,” he said.
“It’s very difficult to stay with stable riders as there’s owners that don’t like certain jockeys and they pay the bills and everyone has an opinion these days .
“If it was just the trainer and the jockey but unfortunately the horses are owned by people.
“I would rather put on the jockey the owner likes and 90 percent of the time I’m pretty relaxed with that…I think most of the jockeys will do the right thing if you give them the right horse.”
Signs are positive for the Hayes stable not just in the early stages of the new season but also at the back end of the last.
He rates July 2011 as his second best July ever as a trainer and already in August he’s well and truly off the mark.
In fact Hayes sits second on the Victorian trainer premiership with six winners already to his credit.
He’s also bagged an early metropolitan winner as well with a number of horses looking like good types leading into the spring.
In fact he rates his most recent winner Cross Of Gold as his most promising one to watch.
“The horse that won yesterday Cross Of Gold owned by John Singleton and friends, a very nice horse for the future, an expensive yearling. “
“He’s a beautifully bred horse, good looking horse, had blue diamond ability but had shin sore so we couldn’t get him there, that tells me he will be a very good three-year-old but I don’t think he’d run Derby distance.
“I would say a genuine chance of getting to the Guineas.”
Hayes says one which would get to the 2400m and even beyond that is Laristan.
“I think as a stayer Laristan has emerged, he’s really impressing me,” he said.
In terms of his Group 1 contingent he also hasn’t lost faith that his sprinters can get the job done.
“I think there’s a good race in Eagle Falls…Spacecraft is impressing me as well,” he said.
Hayes also rates Rebel Solider as an improving type but acknowledges he has a lot of work to do before he boasts a stable with the recognised Group 1 talent as he’s had in the past.