Black Caviar aside, Hay List is arguably the best sprinter in the world and he went a long way to proving it yesterday with a momentous victory in the Newmarket Handicap.
The ABC’s Daniel Franklin reports.
Champion sprinter Hay List has captured some well-deserved time in the spotlight with a courageous win in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Hay List and Queensland speedster Buffering stalked the leaders before they drew away in the final 150m and raced neck and neck to the line.
The roar from the crowd when Hay List’s number went into the frame typified the level of admiration racegoers have for him.
Admiration not just for his effort to beat 21 rivals and carry 58.5kgs, an impost no horse in the past 50 years has carried to victory.
But admiration for the fact that in any other era (without Black Caviar), Hay List would be attracting similar superlatives and rated the world’s best sprinter.
But Saturday was Hay List’s time to shine.
“Every time we ask him to step up he steps up and does better than we can imagine,” said part-owner Katie Davenport.
“He is a very brave horse. What a champion.”
The win caps a remarkable job by trainer John McNair to bring Hay List back to the track after a serious injury almost ended the horse’s life.
McNair was upset when the Newmarket weights were released but was convinced by the Davenports that the horse should take his place.
“John just wants to do what’s right for him all the time, so I guess he just thought the weight wasn’t quite right and was just trying to protect him,” Davenport said.
“But he got the chance to prove just how good he is today.”
Jockey Glyn Schofield says the 58.5kg was taking its toll in the final 50m.
“He felt it, but fortunately he didn’t have one mare to chase down today,” Schofield said in reference to Black Caviar.
“This fellow deserves his day in the sun, he’s his own history maker today.”
Hay List has raced 22 times for 15 wins and five seconds – four of them to Black Caviar. If not for the great mare, he would have four extra Group Ones to his name.
Photo by Bronwen Healy