Hay List will beat the ‘unbeatable’ mare Black Caviar in the 2012 TJ Smith Stakes next Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Pipe dream or not, this is the bold statement made by Hay List’s dedicated part-owner Peter Davenport ahead of the boom sprinter’s new-season return following a lengthy injury-enforced spell.
“It’s my prerogative as owner to say silly things like that,” WA-based Davenport said after naming Hay List as the horse to take down the queen.
“I will end up either with egg on my face or a slap on the back.”
There has always been a certain amount of hype surrounding face offs between the hulking Hay List and Peter Moody’s superlative sprint star Black Caviar, who remains undefeated in her stunning 16-start career to date.
The dynamic duo have met on four previous occasions, and unfortunately for Statue Of Liberty gelding Hay List the scoreboard reads 4 – nil in favour of the ‘Black Flash’.
After a highly-spruiked lead-up, Hay List first came up against the best in the business in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington back in November last year.
Despite the pre-race hype, an injury-marred lead-up where Hay List hurt his leg saw a flop of a feature with the Gosford-based galloper finishing a disappointing sixth beaten 11 and a half lengths by Black Caviar.
He met her again first-up in February this year, this time putting in a braver performance to cross three and a half lengths away second in the Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m).
Recording a Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) success at Warwick Farm, Hay List quickly had his ego put back in check when beaten into second again, this time by three lengths when Black Caviar ran away to win the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
Reigning supreme next start on a Heavy (10) Randwick track to score an emphatic victory in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), Hay List travelled up to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
It was there that he suffered his fourth defeat at the hands of Black Caviar, and also suffered what turned out to be a life-threatening injury that would subsequently see Hay List miss the entire spring – summer season.
After running second to her in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 14, which is the closest he has come to tasting Black Caviar, Hay List cut his leg and an infection saw him undergo serious treatment.
“It was an infection, some sort of super bug,” Davenport said describing the ailment that bought Hay List down.
Now fully recovered and ready for an autumn carnival assault, Hay List will get his chance at revenge likely in the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 14, 2012.
“Hay List has never been on his game when he’s taken on Black Caviar – never,” Davenport said.
“How he’s returned, he’s never been better and that’s a bit scary for us.
“When the moon and the stars are in alignment, he’ll be the horse to beat her – I guarantee it.”
Whether that’s a guarantee punters want to take Davenport up on or not remains to be seen.
A better guide to exactly how well Hay List is travelling, and what kind of challenge he will present to Black Caviar will be made clearer after the pair kick off their autumn campaigns.
Black Caviar is scheduled to resume in the $200,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 27, while Hay List’s first-up run is penciled in as the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18, 2012.
From there the two will follow separate paths until the TJ Smith Stakes 2012 brings them together.
After the TJ Smith Stakes clash, both Black Caviar and Hay List could then be sent to England for the Royal Ascot in June, while the grand final goal for Davenport is to take his horse all the way to the 2012 Cox Plate next spring.
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