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After earlier naming Hay List as an almost certain non-starter in next month’s Stradbroke Handicap, Gosford trainer John McNair is now saying that the $1 million sprint could be back on the agenda for his gallant galloper.
Doubts have emerged in the mind of McNair that his stable star Hay List will ever get the better of Peter Moody’s sprint queen Black Caviar after the State Of Liberty five-year-old was defeated by the mighty mare for a fourth time last Saturday.
Hay List briefly hit the front in the Group 1 BTC Cup at Doomben last weekend, but Black Caviar quickly dashed any ideas of an upset, effortlessly coasting to her 13th straight victory.
Although finishing the closest he ever has behind the equine celebrity, Hay List beaten two lengths, he was still far from defeating the favourite.
The dynamic duo will clash for a fifth time Saturday week in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
Following the 10,000, a race that if Black Caviar wins will see her equal Phar Lap’s record of consecutive turf triumphs, Moody has confirmed his frontrunner will be spelled ahead of the spring.
It was to be the same story for Hay List, however, McNair has said that if the gelding scores a boilover and wins the Doomben 10,000 he will reconsider a run in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap over 1400m at Eagle Farm on June 11.
While bookmakers removed Black Caviar from their early Stradbroke odds this week, Hay List remains the $5.50 second favourite behind thriving three-year-old Sincero ($4.20).
“I don’t want people to start backing him as it’s more likely he won’t run in the Stradbroke,” McNair said.
“But if he happened to win the 10,000 it would be silly not to take it on.
“If he got towelled again then there’s no point going on to the Stradbroke.”
History, form and the odds suggest that Black Caviar won’t be beaten in the 10,000, the six-time Group 1 winner sitting short in the market at $1.16 before acceptances have even been taken.
There could also be a possible change of training stables in Queensland for Hay list who has seemingly not settled into his Eagle Farm accommodation.
“I’m still going to look at finding him a new stable but he won’t move now before the 10,000,” McNair said.
“I’d just like to see him in an environment that is quieter but it’s hard to find.”
A possible transfer venue could be Deagon.
A horse that easily “gets stirred up” according to McNair, Hay List gave his connections a bit of a scare on Tuesday morning.
“I made a fatal mistake of taking him for a swim after work and he got stirred up,” McNair said.
“I was a bit worried he might jump on himself.
“He carries on like a girl at times.”
It is this behaviour that marred Hay List’s lead-up to his opening battle with the Black Flash in the spring of last year.
Hay List was well-favoured to beat Black Caviar in last year’s Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington.
However, out in his Gosford stables Hay List jumped into his water trough and suffered a cut to his leg that saw him go into the highly-spruiked showdown well below his best fitness wise.
On raceday Hay List failed to come within 11 lengths of Black Caviar when finishing sixth in the Patinack.
McNair confirmed that Hay List suffered no injury on Tuesday, however, and is as ready as he ever will be for another shot at her.
“I’ve never tried to bottom this horse out and serve the work up to him,” McNair said.
“I’ve always tried to leave something there for raceday.
“But I’ve made a decision to throw everything at him in trackwork.
“Nothing has worked so far.
“If he can get a big enough lead it might make her (Black Caviar) take off earlier (in the Doomben 10,000).
“I’ll really serve it up to him on Saturday morning.
“I’m not giving up just yet.
“I’ve got a couple of things we still haven’t trialled.”
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