The thought of bringing their champion galloper back after a lengthy spell in a first-up assignment against Black Caviar is certainly intimidating and connections of Hay List are seriously considering bypassing the 2012 Lightning Stakes should Peter Moody chose to run his unbeaten queen.
On Monday there were 15 sprinters nominated for the $750,000 Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m), to run at Flemington on Saturday, including the superlative Black Caviar fresh off her 18th straight victory in the CF Orr Stakes last weekend.
The Lightning Stakes 2012 has long been penciled in as the resuming run for the John McNair-trained Statue Of Liberty gelding Hay List, the dual Group 1 winner having had nine months off the racing scene due to an injury sustained in Brisbane last winter.
After their emphatic three and a half length victory in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in the mud last April, Hay List travelled to Queensland where he faced off against Black Caviar for the fourth time in his career.
And, for the fourth time, he was well-beaten when finishing second to the ‘Black Flash’ in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) on May 14.
Originally set to back-up in the Doomben 10,000, Hay List was forced to miss the race and many more after that after a cut to his leg got seriously infected.
The hulking sprinter has made a brilliant recovery, as proven by their blistering four length barrier trial win over 1000m at Randwick in January, and is ready to get back to the business of racing.
“Everything has gone well and we are so happy he is back,” part-owner Peter Davenport said.
“We are not going to know until he’s put under race conditions but his work’s enormous.”
Twelve months ago Hay List ran three and a half lengths away second to Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes, but there looks to be little chance of the same quinella combination paying off again.
Although nominated for the Lightning Stakes, the presence of the seemingly unstoppable Black Caviar has hampered dreams of a first-up Group 1 win for Hay List and Davenport said the smart option would be to save Hay List for another seven days.
Should Hay List skip Saturday’s Lightning Stakes showdown, their new first-up run would then be set as the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) the following weekend at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
“It came as a surprise to me when Peter Moody said he was thinking of backing her up,” Davenport said on Monday.
“We all had a conference this morning and decided we may have to re-program.
“We have to consider what we’re up against and when Peter Moody decides what he’s doing we’ll decide what we’re doing.
“Hopefully he decides early in the week but he doesn’t have to make up his mind until 7.30 on Saturday morning.
“An early decision would be beneficial for us so we could prepare mentally and physically for the ‘wonder from down under’ as I heard her (Black Caviar) called.
“It’s put us in a spot.
“I have every respect for both the trainer and the mare.
“If he (Moody) reckons she can back up then Hay List might not run despite the fact he’s ready.
“We’re ready to race whether it’s this week or next.”
As for McNair’s thoughts, the Gosford-based horseman said he would leave it up to the Davenports but that his gut instinct was to miss the testing run against Black Caviar.
“It’s up to the Davenports,” McNair said.
“They might even go down the path of dodging the Lightning if she runs and concentrate on the Oakleigh Plate next week – that’s an option.
“Purely and simply, we would like to give him a relatively easy ‘kill’ first-up and get his confidence back.”
The 2012 Lightning Stakes field of acceptors will be released and published right here at Races.com.au.
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