Trainer David Hayes is convinced that Pago Rock will run far better than his Newmarket Handicap odds suggest when he contests Group 1 sprint down the famous Flemington straight this weekend.
Pago Rock is currently available at a quote of $26 in 2014 Newmarket Handicap betting markets, but Hayes believes that the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding should be at much shorter odds after producing two impressive performances in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) and the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m).
“I think that the market has got him a bit wrong to be honest,” Hayes told Sky Racing HQ.
“He was only beaten a short half head by Samaready at set weights and I didn’t think that he was ready in the Lightning.
“Then he ran a mighty race and was a bit unlucky (in the Bob Hoysted Handicap), he got disadvantaged at the start, but ran brilliant sectionals and we all know that he is better over 1200.
“He drops seven kilos, so I just can’t understand the market.”
Pago Rock is yet to break through for a victory at Group level, with his best result his second place finish behind Unpretentious in Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but Hayes believes that the six-year-old has the quality to breakthrough for a win at the highest level of racing.
The veteran trainer feels that the drop in weight, from 60 kilograms to 53 kilograms, is key to the winning chances of Pago Rock in the Newmarket Handicap and said that any punter who thinks Samaready will win the Group 1 event needs to respect the tough gelding.
“When you are so consistent that is what gives you every chance,” Hayes said.
“He consistently runs to his rating and he is in a handicap and is well-weighted.
“Samaready is $4.50 and as I said, he was first-up and not ready and was only narrowly beaten by her.
“He gave her weight that day and now she gives him weight.
“If you like Samaready, I think that you need to put Pago in the quinella.”
Hayes is chasing his first win at Group 1 level since Eagle Falls scored a narrow victory over Avenue and Hinchinbrook in the 2011 edition of the Oakleigh Plate.