Dual Group 1 hero Hay List showed he was more than just ‘on track’ for a much-awaited return in the Lightning Stakes 2012 next month, blitzing his rivals at Randwick’s Kensington track in a barrier trial on Friday morning.
Hay List burst back onto the scene when beating home a decent line-up including Gai Waterhouse’s More Strawberries by a minimum four lengths over 1000 metres in the fifth hitout of the morning.
Recording a slick time of 58.20 seconds, Hay List’s trial showed his Gosford-based trainer John McNair everything he needed to see ahead of his stable ace’s return to racing.
“He’d had a few minor setbacks and I thought he was at tiny bit softer than he was and he actually pulled up much better than I thought as well,” McNair said.
The Statue Of Liberty six-year-old has been on the sidelines since their game second to sprint queen Black Caviar in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben back in mid-May last year.
After cutting their leg and suffering a subsequent career and life-threatening infection, Hay List has bounced back thanks to plenty of care and recovery time, now less than a month away from their scheduled first-up run of the year.
McNair has named the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18 as the resuming run for Hay List, an event he finished second to Black Caviar in last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
“The chances of running in the Lighting have just shot up remarkably,” McNair said after the trial win.
“It would be nice to get another trial into him between now and the 18th and, going on today, I’m pretty confident that’ll happen.
“It’s probably preempting things a bit, but I’m expecting him to recover very, very well from his trial today.”
The Lightning Stakes 2012 has also not been taken off the cards completely as an autumn aim for the undefeated Black Caviar who vies for her 17th on the trot when she runs first-up in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley tonight.
Black Caviar or not, McNair is more confident than ever that Hay List will be able to post elite level win No. 3 in the Lightning Stakes should they continue to improve the way they have over the past few months.
“If he’s right, I wouldn’t be worried about anything at all,” he said.
“Glyn (Schofield, jockey) agrees with me.
“We think he might be a better horse this time and, oddly enough, he’s more relaxed.
“Glyn said he could have put him anywhere in the trial, so he’s slightly different this time in he’s just so much more relaxed.
“I was confident he would run a mile (1600m) before and now I am even more confident.”
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