Former boom sprinter Hay List will continue to be prepared by Gosford-based horseman John McNair despite earlier rumours the horse’s WA-based connections where considering a change of trainer ahead of their autumn return.
A hulking Statue Of Liberty six-year-old, Hay List hasn’t raced since their game second to superstar mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in Brisbane back in mid-May.
After the run, which came one start after Hay List posted his second elite level success in the All Aged Stakes during the Sydney Autumn Carnival, connections were forced to abandon immediate racing plans as the champ suffered a laceration to his leg that became infected and threatened to end not only his career but his life as well.
A winner of 14 of their 20 career starts to date for over $1.73 million in prize money, a figure that could be far larger had they not come up against the best-in-the-business Black Caviar on four occasions, Hay List has made a remarkable recovery and is set to resume racing next year.
Transferred to McNair’s care in early 2010 having originally been prepared by Jim Taylor in Perth, Hay List will continue to be trained by McNair, putting to bed reports that former Melbourne Cup winning trainer Mark Kavanagh could be given the job.
“Hay List and John McNair are happily reunited and back to business,” Co-owner Trevor Davenport confirmed.
“A few things said were taken out of context, it was a storm in a tea cup.
“John has the secret to the horse and he’ll have him ready.”
Despite being on the brink of death mere months ago, Hay List has come back in magnificent form according to Davenport who said he expected a career-best year in 2012 from the mature galloper.
“We are thrilled with his condition, as he has been given the all-clear,” Davenport said.
“He is 100 per cent fit.
“There is no reason to suggest he can’t come back like the Hay List we know next preparation.
“He has come back from a lengthy spell looking a million bucks.”
There is also a chance that following the autumn carnivals in Australia, Hay List will be given their chance to shine on the international stage.
With more possible clashes already on the cards for Hay List and Black Caviar next season, the dynamic duo could also face off overseas in England during the 2012 Royal Ascot Carnival in June.
“The horse deserves to go overseas,” Davenport said.
“It obviously can put a strain on them, but if we are going to do it, we will do it the Takeover Target way, the patient way and just do the right thing by the horse.
“It won’t be a hit-and-run mission.”
Davenport said that is was equally as appealing to remain in Australia and continue showcasing Hay List to the race fans here, and that any decision on where to race will be made based on the progress of the horse.
“We are certainly looking very, very heavily at an extensive overseas campaign, but the prize money, quality of racing and the overall glory you get from staying in Australia is equal, so the easiest answer is that Hay List will decide what happens,” he said.
Aside from England, other possible overseas targets for Hay List could include races in Singapore and Dubai.
“If he is 100 per cent at the right time, then it could be Singapore and the United Kingdom,” Davenport said.
“If he is 110 per cent at the right time, it could be Dubai.
“I don’t have enough knowledge of the program to tell you exactly how it would work, but we haven’t ruled anything out.
“I really do think it is going to be his year.”
Hay List’s most immediate program is an assault on the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival 2012, which is scheduled to kick off with his first-up run in the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18, an event he ran a first-up second to Black Caviar in this year.
He is likely to face a tough field first-up in the 2012 Lightning Stakes with horses including top colts Smart Missile and Foxwedge also looking to return in the race.
Dedicated to keeping Hay List fresh and ready to hit the international arena, he will then be kept to the short-distance features during his prep, but was unlikely to run in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in early March due to the heavy weight he would be allocated.
“When we get him back into full work I’ve got a feeling he might be back to his absolute best over those short sprints,” Davenport said.
“The Lightning (Stakes) is the obvious target and that is where we are aiming.”
Davenport went on to name the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and $400,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival as other new-season goals for Hay List should everything go to plan.
“Bring on 2012,” Davenport said.
“I can’t wait to see him back out on the track doing what he does best.”
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