Hay List (STATUE OF LIBERTY) continued his ascent to the top of the sprinting ranks with a bloodless win in the $250,000 Gilgai Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m). Trainer John McNair had made no secret that he was using the race as a way for Hay List to get some experience of the Flemington straight ahead of the Patinack Farm Classic (Gr 1, 1200m) on Stakes day. What was more of a secret until the hours before the race was that Hay List’s participation had been in some doubt owing to the son of Statue Of Liberty (USA) lashing out and kicking a car yesterday.
The five-year-old was vetted prior to racing today and passed fit by Racing Victoria stewards.
Trainer John McNair did the right thing by informing stewards of the incident and it certainly did not deter punters big and small from hammering Hay List into a $1.55 favourite on course.
Once the barriers opened, trainer and punters had no cause for concern with Glyn Schofield enjoying an armchair ride on the big gelding, always travelling strongly and then simply coming away from his rivals, headed by the gallant Catapulted (Catbird) and a closing Chasm (Umatilla) to win comfortably by a length and a quarter in the time of 1:08.20 for the 1200 metres.
The Gosford trainer admitted afterwards that Hay List is making him very nervous. The incident at Geelong beach yesterday did not exactly help settle McNair’s nerves either, but the prodigious talent is something new to the trainer. “I’ve never worried like this about my other horses,” McNair said. “I’ve never been a nervous person, but with this horse it’s just constant.
“He took fright at something yesterday and lashed out and kicked a car. He’s done a fair bit of damage to the car, but fortunately none to himself. Smart horses, intelligent horses, they respond and overcome everything.
“There’s still improvement there. I’m not going to get too far ahead just yet, but I can tell you that I’m very happy with how things are at the present time.”
Jockey Glyn Schofield was in awe of the gelding’s performance and said his only disappointment is that the time the race takes. “The only problem is the ride doesn’t go long enough. It’s over in a flash. You’ve got to enjoy it for as long as you can.
“But gee he’s impressive. He’s phenomenal. It never felt like I was out of third gear or fourth gear at any stage of the race. He was just coasting. Once I asked for a little extra to get away from Catapulted and it was race over.
“He’s a natural athlete and a true racehorse. It will be nice to see if someone can put pressure on him so he has to stretch because I think there’s plenty left.”
Waiting to go out for the trophy presentation, Schofield asked what the race time was. When told it was 1:08 and change he smiled and said, “Not bad considering the handbrake was on.”
Mc Nair indicated Hay List will run next run in the Schweppes Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day and then go on to the Patinack Farm Classic (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the Flemington Spring Carnival.
The five-year-old has now won 12 of his 14 starts and earnings of $956,125.
- ANZ Bloodstock News