With Black Caviar out of the way you’d expect John McNair to be bouncing around this week filled with anticipation of a Hay List victory in the Doomben 10,000 this weekend.
Surprisingly though he seems more reserved than usual, perhaps well aware that for the first time in a long time the shoe is on the other foot and his horse is expected to perform on race day.
Hay List is one of the shortest priced favourites ever in the event and McNair is just trying to keep both himself and his horse calm and relaxed.
One thing that will help is drawing barrier two, not perfect according to McNair but it’ll give Glen Boss the option to take up the lead if he chooses to.
“Can’t complain about that, if I’d drawn four or five it would have been the ultimate but pretty hard to draw a bad barrier in a nine horse field,” he said.
His work hasn’t been overly intense this week and McNair is just trying to keep him going through the motions that he’s used to.
“He’s very relaxed, the more relaxed the better he goes,” he said.
McNair doesn’t know for sure how many runs he has left in him and the long prep is something he’s well aware of.
“He’s raced in three different states this prep and done a bit of travel, it always takes him a while to settle in especially where he is now,” he said.
“Our challenge is to get him to the races Saturday as relaxed as we possibly can.”
It’s a race that on paper he should win easily considering he accounted for the majority of this field by multiple lengths last start in the BTC Cup behind Black Caviar.
Either he or Border Rebel will take up the early pace however simply winning the race won’t be enough for McNair to justify a start in the Stradbroke Handicap.
“We’ll decide that on Monday or Tuesday,” he said.
“He’d need to win the race comfortably to give it any consideration.”
There are no drastic changes in riding pattern expected this weekend either although Shance Scriven suggested after track work that he could be suited to settling off the pace as the distance increases.
“The only reason we would take a sit at all would be to run in the Stradbroke, to be any chance there we’d have to take the sit,” he said.
Having said that it won’t be a lead at all costs strategy and if another horse, most likely Border Rebel, decides they want to set the pace he’ll let them have it.
“We won’t fire him right up, if something wants to go really quick we’ll probably let him go,” he said.