Hall Of Fame trainer David Hayes admits that Haybah surprised him last start when second at Sandown and the filly is now ready to take on the top fancies in the Group 3 $150,000 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at the same venue on Saturday.
Haybah was coming off a Ballarat maiden win when she pushed Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Fontiton to the limit when second to the Robert Smerdon trained filly in the Group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preview (F) (1000m) at Sandown on January 26.
“She’s crept up on me a bit,” Hayes told AAP.
“I thought she was a bit off the good ones. Then she stretched the favourite a bit last start.”
Even though Haybah scored an impressive three lengths win at Ballarat her previous start, she was still sent out at the healthy odds of $21 in the Blue Diamond Preview.
As opposed to her leading all the way at Ballarat, jockey Stephen Baster elected to sit off the pace and no doubt will adopt the same tactics from barrier five in the nine horse field.
Jockey James Winks is certain to use race favourite Prompt Return’s initial speed and cross over from barrier seven giving him an early option to lead if he wants to.
Prompt Return is the current favourite for the Chairman’s Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.30 and is having his first race start since running second to the Gai Waterhouse trained Carriages in the $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic (1000m) at Ballarat on November 22.
The Beneteau colt had won his two previous two starts, a 900m Bendigo Maiden on October 18 followed by a two lengths win in the Group 3 $150,000 racing.com Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 8.
Haybah has joined last start Sandown winner Thurlow at $4.40 on the second line of betting with Haybah’s stablemate, first starter More Than Most, marked at $6 ahead of Wez Hunter’s debut winner Parcel at $7.
While More Than Most is listed among the entries for the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28, Hayes said that he didn’t nominate Haybah for Victoria’s richest two year old race because he thought she wasn’t in the top group of juveniles at Lindsay Park.
Smerdon has added blinkers to Thurlow since the Sebring filly scored a narrow win in the Listed $120,000 Santa’s Magical Kingdom Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on November 15.