On Wednesday a final field of just nine horses, including raging favourite Hay List, were accepted for this Saturday’s feature Brisbane Winter Carnival showdown the Doomben 10,000.
Following the early withdrawal of the unbeaten queen Black Caviar from the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m), all the rage has been on the John McNair-trained galloper Hay List.
A winner of 14 of his 20 starts, Statue Of Liberty gelding Hay List’s record also shows two elite level victories, Black Caviar the only thing standing between him and a handful of other Group 1’s.
On Saturday without the ‘Black Flash’ there to stop him, Hay List has been backed into the odds-on favourite at $1.30 to become the fourth successive favourite to win the Doomben 10,000.
Second favourite to win is Peter Snowden’s smart mare Beaded at $8 who is drawn in barrier seven, Hay List due to jump from gate two.
McNair said he was a bit disappointed by the diminutive size of the field and named Lonhro five-year-old Beaded, who most recently finished second to Response in the Group 1 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on March 26, as the main danger.
“I would have liked to see a few more runners in the field to make it hard for Beaded,” McNair said.
“She doesn’t have to go around as many horses now, but I suppose if my bloke turns up at his best it shouldn’t matter.”
Beaded, a winner of nine of her 19 starts to date, was a strong force at last year’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
After winning the Group 3 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben last May, she went on to finish fourth beaten less than half a length by Black Piranha in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and finished off her sunshine state campaign for 2010 with a third place finish to the now retired Melito in the Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m).
The ultra consistent Beaded had just one run in the spring when second to Whitefriars in the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m) before being sent for a spell.
Snowden bought her back in February where she showed she was still in top form, winning the Group 3 Hyderabad Race Club Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield first-up before running into Black Caviar at Flemington.
In an eye-catching run, Beaded managed to finish four lengths away third to Black Caviar in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 12 before her second in the Sportingbet Classic last-start.
Snowden and connections are now confident she can give Hay List a run for his money in the Doomben 10,000, Beaded having arrived in Queensland on Sunday.
“She’s had a little bit of time off,” Snowden said.
“She had a nice trial last Tuesday week at Rosehill which I’m happy about.
“She’s always super competitive and the trial suggested to me she’s probably a little bit more further along than I thought.
“This filly, she puts in 120 percent every time she goes out.”
Beaded is also heading towards the richest race of the winter carnival, sitting as the $7.50 second elect behind $4.80 equal favourites Hay List and Sincero in the markets for next month’s $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm and is also expected to contest the Winter Stakes for a second year in a row.
“She will be better suited in the Stradbroke, but she’s never ever put in a bad run and we’re more than happy with her,” Darley racing manager Trevor Lobb said.
“Drawing (barrier) seven, she will still be very competitive (in the Doomben 10,000).”
Trainer Snowden confirmed the winter campaign of the gutsy mare.
“Her two main targets are the Stradbroke and the Winter Stakes,” Snowden said.
Snowden was also quick to give credit to the favourite, saying Hay List was indeed the deserved favourite and they would have to give Beaded a carefully planned ride.
“She’s probably going to be three pairs back, one out,” Snowden said.
“Hay List could be extremely hard to beat if he gets his own way out in front.”
Another Doomben 10,000 rival ready to race competitively on Saturday is Robert Heathcote’s local galloper Buffering who is out to $21 in the odds after drawing the far outside barrier eight.
Premier Brisbane-based trainer Heathcote, although disappointed with the draw his Mossman three-year-old Buffering drew, still believes he will be right up there in the finish.
First-up this prep Buffering was the sharp winner of the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 30 before his game last-start third behind Black Caviar and Hay List in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) a fortnight ago.
“I’m a bit disappointed, but I think there’s a way around it,” Heathcote said.
“Border Rebel is likely to go forward with Hay List.
“So maybe that gives us an option of popping in third, one off the fence.”
Sue Grill’s Tamworth galloper Border Rebel won the Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 23 before finishing an eye-catching fourth in an 1100m sprint at Scone on May 13.
The five-year-old came up trumps in the Doomben 10,000 barrier draw with the inside running from gate one and is currently paying $18 to win.
“I can’t complain about that that’s for sure,” Grills said of Border Rebel’s draw for the Doomben 10,000.
“I think he’s got gate one in at least a third of his starts.”
Despite tactical talk suggesting Grills would instruct apprentice jockey Timothy Bell to take Border Rebel to the front on Saturday, she argued that this may not be the safest approach.
“It would be suicidal to take Hay list on all the way,” she said.
“If Border Rebel can run a place in this I’ll be happy.”