Hot on the hoof of today’s news that BEL ESPRIT’s girl Black Caviar is now “officially the No. 1 sprinter in the world” comes the word that Hay List is on the comeback trail. The Herald Sun’s Tim Habel provides the lowdown on an autumn high while Nicole Garmston took the pic.
Trainer John McNair is not shying away from his star sprinter Hay List taking on great rival Black Caviar again soon.
Perhaps even as soon as next month’s Lightning Stakes.
A gallop between races at Gosford on Thursday will be pivotal in McNair’s planning, which could include a trip to Dubai in March for the $2 million Golden Shaheen (1200m).
Unbeaten Black Caviar and Hay List (STATUE OF LIBERTY), who won his first three Melbourne starts, clashed for the first time in the Patinack Farm Classic on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival last year.
But the touted match race was a fizzer, with Black Caviar strolling home while Hay List finished a career-worst sixth in the seven-horse field, beaten 11.5 lengths.
Many attributed the performance to the effects of a pre-race injury. Hay List lashed out at a water trough in the week before the race and hurt his leg, the wound requiring stitches.
“The injury was worse than we thought and there was an infection when the stitches burst,” McNair said.
“(But) I’m less confident of beating her (Black Caviar) after the sensational sectionals she ran that day.
“It will be interesting to see them both at their best at 1200m and 1400m. If there is as any disadvantage for us it would be 1000m.
“He’s got to prove he’s back to his best, but he gives me a better feel now than he ever has. The gallop at Gosford will let us know where we are.”
Regular rider Glyn Schofield will ride Hay List, a winner of 12 of his 15 starts, in the exhibition gallop.
Depending on the outcome, McNair said the Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 5 or Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 19 would be the first-up race.
The $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 27 was also an option, McNair said.
“It’s worth more than the Newmarket. The race is run on sand (the artificial Tapeta surface) and he does all his work on sand,” McNair said.
But he said if the Newmarket became the main goal, he would consider it a first or second-up run.
“If we were deadly serious about the Newmarket you would nearly go first-up because we would meet Black Caviar better at the weights,” he said.