Hall of Famer David Hayes has all but confirmed the stable’s gun sprinter Vega Magic will bypass the Group 1 $2.5 million Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney Saturday week in favour of a The Goodwood run in Adelaide and a freshen-up ahead of The Everest this coming spring.
A winner of a dozen of his 20 career starts to date, Lope De Vega five-year-old Vega Magic is yet to race in 2018 having undergone serious surgery after running into a fence during his time in the paddock.
Having now made a full recovery, the $3.5 million earner was last seen running four lengths back for a midfield seventh to Redzel in Flemington’s Group 1 $1 million Darley Classic (1200m) in November.
A rematch with Peter & Paul Snowden’s champion was originally on the cards for Vega Magic first-up on April 7 at Royal Randwick in the TJ Smith Stakes, but that target looks to have been shelved despite the horse’s ace condition.
Vega Magic was put through his paces with a strong jump-out at Seymour on Tuesday morning.
Hayes said the horse was looking “big and strong” but that he was unlikely for the TJ Smith Stakes during ‘The Championships’, instead being saved for a title defence at Morphettville on May 19 in the Group 1 $1 million Darley Goodwood (1200m).
“He’s looking big and strong and we gave him this trial to see if we are going to run in Sydney in the T.J.,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“He did have a big blow and he was incredibly impressive.
“We’ll see how he comes out of it but my gut feel is that we wait for The Goodwood.
“On what I saw today, I know I have a world-class sprinter, so exciting times ahead.
“He’s had a gallop at Lindsay Park building into this and the only gallop I’ve seen as good came from Redkirk [Warrior] and we all know how good Redkirk is.
“He ran 11.1 [econds for 200 metres] up our hill and that is as good as you see.”
Formerly prepared in WA by Bullsbrook-based trainer Sean Casey, Vega Magic has been stabled at Flemington for Lindsay Park since early in 2017.
His first run for stable produced a Group 1 win in The Goodwood, a race he will shoot for back-to-back victories in this year for the first time since Musket Belle right back in 1911-12.
Vega Magic also won back-to-back Caulfield races after his The Goodwood success last year including nice one and three-quarter length success over fellow Perth expat Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 $1 million Memsie Stakes (1400m).
His form from over the autumn – spring carnivals saw him earn a slot in the inaugural edition of the world’s richest race on turf, The Everest (1200m) running at Randwick in mid-October.
There he was brave in defeat finishing runner-up to Redzel.
The Everest is now worth $13 million in prize money and is again in the sights of Vega Magic should he secure a spot in the 12-horse field.
“[We will] give him a nice slow preparation into it after his setback and then set him for The Everest,” Hayes confirmed on Tuesday.
Reigning champion Redzel heads the all-in The Everest odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at $5 followed by Vega Magic at $11.
Redzel is also the horse to beat in the TJ Smith Stakes next-up, the last start Group 2 $500,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) winner impressing with a blistering trial win on Monday at Randwick’s Kensington track.