The John McNair-trained Gosford galloper Hay List will make a trip to Wyong on Friday morning to trial for the first time since playing second-fiddle to Black Caviar yet again in the Lightning Stakes, the hulking sprinter preparing to vie for a history-making 2012 Newmarket Handicap win.
After spending over nine months on the sidelines recovering from a life-threatening infection, Statue Of Liberty gelding Hay List resumed racing to finish a brave but well-beaten second behind Australia’s unbeaten queen Black Caviar in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18 carrying 58.5kg.
Having pulled through the run well Hay List is now engaged for a 1000-metre, five-horse trial to run as the opening of 14 heats at Wyong Race Club on Friday morning.
Glyn Schofield, who rides at Rosehill the next day including his prized mount on 2012 Australian Guineas betting favourite Manawanui, will make a special trip to Wyong on Friday to partner his favourite horse Hay List.
Hay List’s next major assignment has been confirmed as the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday week where the six-year-old will be forced to carry the 58.5kg topweight of the field.
To win with this much on his back in the Newmarket, Hay List would be setting a modern-day weight carrying record in the race.
He will also be giving away bucket-loads of kilos to some very smart rivals including Joe Pride’s excitement machine Rain Affair (55.5kg), ultra consistent Group 1 winning mare Beaded (55.5kg), the in-form Bel Sprinter (52.5kg) and Group 1 performing three-year-old Foxwedge who gets in on the 50kg minimum.
While McNair’s preference was to bypass the Newmarket Handicap and possibly even the remainder of the Melbourne autumn races in an angry response to the big weight, Hay List’s owners are pressing on and intend to give the $2.80 Luxbet favourite his chance.
“We’re very wary of some of the horses at lighter weights and also some horses in the middle, the Rain Affairs and Bufferings,” owner Peter Davenport said.
“Based on his recent work we think he’s improved and he can make a clash of this.
“Much respect to John, a lot of what he has said is absolute true and everyone would agree with that.
“But it didn’t change his focus in training the horse for this race and ultimately the target of the TJ Smith.”
The $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) is scheduled to run at Randwick on April 14.
Schofield also knows it is a big ask of Hay List, but has his fingers crossed they have what it takes to etch their name into the history books.
Originally it looked like Hay List would not be accepting for the Newmarket Handicap field, and Schofield as such made commitments to ride a number of other horses in other March 10 races including Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker for the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm.
A few awkward phone calls later, however, and Schofield is now free to ride his “star” Saturday week.
“He’s a star in my eyes and he’s only been beaten because Black Caviar has been around and the handicappers have taken that view obviously,” Schofield said.
“He was always going to get topweight (for the Newmarket) because he’s the highest-rated horse in the race, that’s fine.
“But whether or not he’s well in or badly in against the rest, I’m just happy to go down and ride him.
“He can carry the weight, the weight he has to carry is not the issue, it is the amount he has to give away.
“Bear in mind Foxwedge got beat 3.9 lengths by Black Caviar (in the Lightning Stakes) receiving a kilo, now I’ve got to give it 8.5 kilograms in the Newmarket, do the maths.
“He has been set a task, he is up to the task.
“Whether or not he can create his own little piece of history by winning the race we’ll know after the race.
“He’s fit and well and he’s trained on after the Lightning Stakes.
“Hay List doesn’t know about the handicap, he’ll go out and do the best he can.”
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