After trying to maintain confidence about his chances against Black Caviar in this Saturday’s BTC Cup trainer John McNair has all but conceded defeat after the barrier draw.
Black Caviar will start from gate four in the run, once again inside Hay List in six who hasn’t found much luck all year.
Although it’s a small field of eight lining up at Doomben McNair knows that any slight disadvantage all but hands the race to Black Caviar.
“If we could swap barriers I’d be confident we could beat Black Caviar,” McNair said.
“But that’s going to be hard now as I wanted to draw on her inside.
“Hay List won’t be busting a gut to lead and I’d prefer to take a sit.”
Showing some optimism though he says even if he loses a fourth time this weekend, if they have a fifth clash in the Doomben 10,000 the race will be his for the taking.
“Once we step out past 1200 metres that’s when I’ll be more confident of beating her,” McNair said.
Hay List had his final gallop at home today before being floated to Brisbane Thursday night, not getting much time at all to settle into Brisbane.
“He worked well. I got Chris O’Brien to ride him a few weeks ago and he rode him again and he thought Hay List had improved a lot,” McNair said.
“He went terrific in the gallop and ran home the last 400 metres in 21 seconds on a slow track
“Everything is 100 per cent but he had a bit of a blow afterwards which I didn’t like.”
McNair has worked a bit softer on Hay List in the past couple of weeks knowing too well that his campaign has been long but he doesn’t think the horse is out of shape.
“He had a blow but he does it all the time,” he said.
“I wasn’t hard on him as normal but I wasn’t that soft to be worried.
“With a horse like him that weighs 615 kilos I don’t like going outside his comfort zone.
“You need to work him a bit like a stayer.”
Racing Queensland has insisted on vetting the horse once he arrives in Brisbane after he threw a shoe in track work on Monday.
“I’ve spoken to Wade Birch and assured him he’s 100 per cent but he’ll have a vet inspection when he gets there,” McNair said.