The good fortune continues for Black Caviar in anticipation of her BTC Cup assignment on Saturday with trainer of rival sprinter Hay List, John McNair, admitting that yesterday’s barrier draw was firmly in favour of the mighty mare.
The $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben this weekend will be the fourth time the undefeated queen of the turf Black Caviar takes on McNair’s hulking galloper Hay List.
After earlier entertaining thoughts of a massive boilover tipping Hay List to finally conquer Moody’s star, McNair has now admitted that a BTC Cup win for his five-year-old is looking less likely.
Yesterday the field of eight BTC Cup hopefuls received their starting positions, Black Caviar advantaging from an ideal barrier four draw.
Hay List, on the other hand, suffered a blow in drawing two outside the favourite in gate six.
With Black Caviar’s superior speed and skill, the midfield position gives her jockey Luke Nolen plenty of options.
McNair is well aware of just how tough a task Hay List faces on Saturday and without the luck of an inside draw, believes that the scales have now firmly tipped in support of a 13th straight win for Black Caviar.
“If we could swap barriers I’d be confident we could beat Black Caviar,” McNair said yesterday.
“But that’s going to be hard now as I wanted to draw on her inside.
“Hay List won’t be busting a gut to lead and I’d prefer to take a sit.”
This suits Moody, Nolen and the BTC Cup’s ace acceptor just fine.
“We won’t be sitting back and letting Hay List set up a big lead this time,” Moody said.
Nolen confirmed that his riding tactics aboard his favourite mount would see Black Caviar out in front.
“The one thing I don’t want is to get boxed up on her,” Nolen said.
“My job is to make sure she gets her opportunity.
“I have to give her clear running.
“She’ll do the rest.”
Moody rubbished suggestions that Black Caviar’s tardiness from the barriers could potentially allow Hay List to get the better of her after she was forced to run him down in the TJ Smith Stakes when letting a four to five length gap grow between them.
“Rubbish,” Moody said. “If Luke (Nolen) let her go, there isn’t a horse in the world who could head her.
“She’s always missed the start a half-length and the barrier blanket tends to contribute to that.
“I’ve very comfortable with her racing style.”
Hay List may have a mighty task ahead of him on Saturday, but McNair said he was fit and ready to go after a good track gallop back home at Gosford yesterday.
“He worked well,” McNair said.
“I got Chris O’Brien to ride him a few weeks ago and he rode him again (on Wednesday) and he thought Hay List had improved a lot.
“He went terrific in the gallop and ran home the last 400 metres in 21 seconds on a slow track.
“Everything is 100 per cent but he had a bit of a blow afterwards which I didn’t like.”
After Hay List also threw a shoe in an earlier workout on Monday, Racing Queensland veterinarians will conduct a precautionary check on the galloper before clearing him to race on Saturday.
Hay List travels via float up to Queensland tonight.
Following the BTC Cup, Hay List and Black Caviar are set to come head-to-head again in a fortnight for the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and this is when McNair believes Hay List will get his chance.
“Once we step out past 1200 metres that’s when I’ll be more confident of beating her,” McNair said.