Gosford based trainer John McNair is yet to officially rule out a trip to Adelaide for his boom sprinter Hay List in The Goodwood, however he is still keen to take on the queen Black Caviar in Brisbane also.
Five-year-old Statue Of Liberty gelding Hay List became a dual Group 1 winner last Saturday storming home on a bog Randwick track to take out the $400,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on the final day of the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Having previously run what racing experts called a career best performance in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) beating home all but Peter Moody’s superstar mare on April 9, Hay List backed up with a blistering three and a half length victory over Black Caviar’s stablemate Hinchinbrook in the All Aged relishing the wet conditions on Sydney Cup Day.
Hay List has now won 14 of his 19 starts for over $1.6 million in prize money with trainer McNair originally considering a trip to Adelaide for the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 8.
With speculations McNair would shelve plans to race at Morphettville due to the hefty $35,000 cost to transport Hay List by air to Adelaide, communications with the South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC) chief executive Brenton Wilkinson on Tuesday afternoon could have persuaded McNair to reconsider.
The SAJC is looking into sponsorship prospects over the next few days to pave the way for Hay List to go on show at Morphettville.
“I’ve spoken to Brenton Wilkinson from the South Australian Jockey Club today (Tuesday) and he’s very keen to get him (Hay List) over there,” McNair said.
“I made a few suggestions and he’s gone off to do some homework in regards to see if there could be some sponsors.”
A sponsorship deal to secure Hay List for The Goodwood would be a huge boost to Adelaide Racing.
“It’s a huge publicity opportunity for South Australia and for somebody to get involved with,” Wilkinson said.
“I don’t have a specific person in mind (but) I will talk to Tourism SA to see whether or not they are happy to assist us in getting a horse like him here, because if we didn’t have Black Caviar he would be the pin-up horse in Australia.”
Nominations for the 2011 The Distinctive Homes Goodwood close at midday today, Wednesday April 27.
“John (McNair) is going to nominate the horse for the Goodwood tomorrow (Wednesday) and we’re just going to keep working in the next few days on how we can get him here as quickly as possible,” Wilkinson said.
“John said that the owners and himself would much prefer the horse to fly so we’re just going to look at every avenue we can to have the horse down here because the day Takeover Target came to Adelaide was a great day for us and to have a horse the quality of Hay List here would just be sensational.”
If suitable sponsorship and flight costs cannot be arranged, McNair will bypass the Adelaide sprint and take Hay List straight to Brisbane.
“That’s not on the cards,” McNair said of floating Hay List to Adelaide.
“We can wait another week and got to Brisbane.”
Regardless of whether The Goodwood is on the cards, McNair wants Hay List to head to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, which officially kicks off on Saturday May 14 with Doomben’s BTC Cup Day.
The Goodwood is run just six days before the BTC Cup on the other side of the nation in Brisbane and whether Hay List can back up in such a short turnaround will depend on the suitability of flights.
“We will also look at the option of whether we can organise a flight, rather than going back to Sydney, whether we can get a flight to Brisbane for him,” Wilkinson said.
McNair has two Group 1 targets in Brisbane pencilled in for Hay List, the same feature sprints the world’s highest rated horse Black Caviar is set to contest.
First up is the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup run over Black Caviar’s pet distance of 1200m.
Other possible starters in this year’s BTC Cup field include Gerald Ryan’s classy mare Melito who ran second to Albert The Fat in the race last year, the John O’Shea-trained Ortensia and Oakleigh Plate winner Eagle Falls.
Following the BTC Cup Hay List is also likely to run in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28, where Black Caviar would be tested over a distance greater than 1200m for the first time in her stunning career.
“We’ll head to Brisbane and start in the BTC Cup and the Doomben 10,000,” McNair said.
“We are fit now and I figure we may as well have another crack at her while we are.”
The TJ Smith Stakes was the third time Hay List had taken on the brilliant Black Caviar having also run second to her in the Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 19 and a well-beaten sixth due to an injury marred lead up in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) on Emirates Stakes Day last November.
“I just wish the race was this weekend, he has done that well,” McNair said.
“We’ve got three weeks, that’s my biggest concern.
“I’ll have to trail him before I head up there.”
Despite the public and punters’ doubts Black Caviar can be beaten, McNair remains confident Hay List will again give her a run for her money.
“To be honest, instead of worrying about Black Caviar, I’m almost starting to look forward to it,” he said.