John McNair’s gallant gelding Hay List put the word out that he was ready to do battle with sprint nemesis Black Caviar once again, blitzing a quality field in a Randwick barrier trial on the course proper this morning.
Five-year-old Hay List easily annihilated the field of seven over 1000m at Royal Randwick finishing an emphatic seven and a half lengths clear of the Gai Waterhouse-trained mare Gigas.
The next closest finisher was the fellow Waterhouse-trained 2010 Golden Rose runner-up Squamosa, over nine lengths away from Hay List who left others including Chris Waller’s duo of Shellscrape and Snow Alert in his wake.
Corey Brown was aboard in the hit-out and was almost left speechless with the ease in which Hay List won.
“It’s stating the obvious, but he went great,” Brown said.
“There’s nothing much more I can tell you, he was really good and did everything John (McNair) wanted him to do.
“He had a good workout but felt super.”
After sitting right on the speed this morning, Hay List powered away on the straight to record a smart 58.2 seconds for the 1000m heat.
“He looked like he did it easily,” McNair said.
“Corey didn’t say a lot, not that he need to.”
Set to head to Queensland on Thursday, Hay List is engaged to make his Brisbane race debut in the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) Saturday week at Doomben and today’s workout was crucial before the clash with Caviar.
“I’m hoping that that trial will get him up somewhere near where he needs to be to take on, and be a serious threat to, Black Caviar,” McNair said.
Having toyed with his opposition when winning the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) by three lengths with 59kg on his back at Randwick last start, Hay List is the only foreseeable danger to Peter Moody’s seemingly untouchable mare Black Caviar in the BTC Cup.
There were 16 first acceptors for the opening Group 1 showdown of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Black Caviar the pronounced $1.15 favourite to defend her undefeated record with a 13th consecutive victory.
Hay List is the only other hopeful at single-figure odds to claim a massive boilover at $5.50 followed by premier local Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote’s in-form Mossman three-year-old Buffering ($14) who won the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm first-up on April 30.
Black Caviar holds a commanding 3 – 0 lead over Hay List in the races they have faced off in to date.
The first battle was in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day last November.
In a race tipped to be the best sprint showdown in recent history, an injury-marred lead-up for Hay List saw him finish a well-beaten sixth over 11 lengths away from Black Caviar who easily recorded her first elite level victory.
The next season the pair both resumed in the Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) in February.
This time Hay List came a little closer but still couldn’t match the awesome ability of the queen when three and a half lengths back for second.
Hay List then went on to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm before putting in his most impressive challenge to Caviar.
In the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 9, Hay List hit the front and lead until the straight.
Although Black Caviar looked to barely break a sweat running Hay List down to score by three lengths, Hay List showed just how advanced he was from the rest of the field with third placegetter Triple Honour a further five lengths away again.
With Hay List’s regular rider Glyn Schofield out due to the damaged collarbone he sustained in the nasty Sydney Cup fall, Glen Boss has picked up the BTC Cup ride aboard the consistent sprinter.
Boss was in the mount for the All Aged Stakes and is so keen for the BTC Cup ride that he is making a brief return trip home from a three-month riding stint in Singapore specifically for Hay List.
When returning to Singapore, Boss has a great ride lined up aboard six-time Group 1 winner Sacred Kingdom in the KrisFlyer International Sprint later this month.
Schofield is confident he will recover in time to reunite with Hay List for the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28, a race Black Caviar is also nominated and dominating betting markets for.
“She has proved too good for us every time we have met so far but in saying that I don’t think I’ve ever had him anywhere near where he is now,” McNair said.
“So we’ve just got to cross the fingers and hope that everything goes well between now and Saturday week.
“He’s probably never going to look any better than what he is.”