Retirement Best Option For Struggling Hay List

By: Isaac Ling
April 24th, 2013


Add a virus to the growing list of problems suffered by star sprinter Hay List.

Hay List (pictured) continues to struggle with illness and injury. Photo by: Taron Clarke.

That’s on top of the hoof and breathing issues that have halted his comeback.

And that’s in addition to the colic and smashed knee that have seen him spend lengthy spells on the sidelines over the past two years.

Surely, enough is enough, and connections and trainer John McNair must consider retiring this legend of the turf?

Yes, the old boy might love racing, and yes, the owners and McNair want to see him return to his best, but it’s becoming a sad state of affairs.

He’s a rising eight-year-old who seems to attract every problem known to horse.

As a fan of the only horse in Australia who ever gave Black Caviar a true test, it’s difficult to watch.

The effort the owners, vets and McNair have put into Hay List’s comeback is commendable but when do they bite the bullet?

Do they wait until he again finishes 19 lengths off the winner as he did behind Black Caviar in the TJ Smith? That’s the same race he towed Black Caviar to the line in two years ago.

Or do they simply continue pushing him until his body completely falls apart?

He’s one of the best horses of his generation and if it wasn’t for Black Caviar he’d have seven Group 1s to his name.

He’s got four seconds behind the all-conquering mare as well as three Group 1 wins of his own. From 25 starts he’s won 15 times and collected more than $2.5 million in prizemoney.

Surely that’s the record of a racehorse that no longer deserves to be worked when it appears his body is not up to the challenge?

McNair has talked about pushing on to the Brisbane winter carnival and I may look silly if he goes there and wins the BTC Cup. Or I may just be sad as I watch one of my favourite horses no longer be able to do what he once did so well. The other option McNair has raised is to spell and come back for the spring carnival as an eight-year-old.

But the option he hasn’t suggested, at least publicly, is the one that stands as the most logical.


I’m not the only one that feels this way. Hay List is a rockstar as far as horses go and he won the hearts of racing fans across the country by making the majority look slow and putting Black Caviar under the pump.

When news filtered through of his latest setback and the fact he would miss Saturday’s All Aged Stakes, the consensus from his fans on social media was clear and simple, he’s done enough.

“For the love of humanity, can connections please retire Hay List?”  Shane Anderson, host of Radio Sports National’s Racing Ahead, said on twitter before being retweeted 14 times.

“Hay List’s connections risk ruining a mighty legacy. A sprinter sure to be in many top five lists,” “Wal G” tweeted.

“Hay List has a virus…no All Aged…I say no more racing…retire him,” another fan quipped.

There’s nothing left to prove and it’s painful to watch.

For the sake of a struggling horse and his adoring fans, it’s time to retire Hay List.

Twitter: @IsaacDLing

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