While this Saturday the attention is on the three-year-olds facing off in the Randwick Guineas in Sydney, next weekend Melbourne will steal the autumn racing spotlight again with Newmarket Handicap winner Hay List to have his next start in the 2012 William Reid Stakes.
The $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) is due to run at Moonee Valley next Friday night, March 23, and the bookmaker.com.au markets to be released next week are sure to led by John McNair’s fight-back hero Hay List.
After suffering a career and life threatening injury during the winter of last year, the hulking Statue Of Liberty gelding resumed racing last month running second behind his arch rival Black Caviar in the Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m).
But without the Black Flash in the picture next-up it was Hay List’s time to shine, and shine he did when overcoming a history making weight and double digit gate to win the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in a photo finish with Queensland galloper Buffering.
Hay List will now seek another Group 1 victory in the William Reid Stakes 2012, as will Newmarket runner-up Buffering.
Rob Heathcote’s consistent Group 1 performing Mossman four-year-old Buffering will be joined in Friday week’s William Reid Stakes field by their in-form stablemate Woorim.
Show A Heart six-year-old Woorim gave the hard-working Heathcote his maiden elite level victory as a trainer when he held on in a tight finish to take out the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield first-up on Blue Diamond Day before their fifth in the Newmarket last start.
“Woorim will also have his final run in Melbourne in the William Reid before he goes to Sydney for the George Ryder and Doncaster Mile,” Heathcote said.
“Buffering will come home to run in the Victory Stakes which he won last year followed by the BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000 while Woorim will be my Stradbroke runner this year,” Heathcote continued.
The $175,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) will take place at Eagle Farm on April 28, with Buffering’s other targets to run during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival mid-year.
Heathcote this week received an enticing invitation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club for Buffering to contest the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December, and the William Reid could be that first step to accepting the offer.
“I was asked by an official from the Hong Kong Jockey Club after Buffering ran third in the Lightning if I was interested in sending him over for the big sprint race in December,” Heathcote said.
“It was a tentative invitation and I’ve already spoken to Danny Bougoure who won the race twice with Falvelon about the best way to get there.
“Danny suggested staying in Melbourne after he campaigns in the spring as the plane leaves direct from Melbourne to go to Hong Kong.”
One horse that won’t be among the William Reid Stakes nominations next Monday is Bel Sprinter.
Jason Warren’s smart Bel Esprit four-year-old won five of their seven career starts leading up to their first Group 1 assignment in the Oakleigh Plate where they finished one and a half lengths away sixth to Woorim.
Warren has made the decision to avoid the William Reid and the likes of Hay List and take his speedy sprinter back to Sydney for the $100,000 Listed Maurcie McCarten Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Saturday week.
“I don’t think we should be running against Hay List at weight-for-age,” Warren said.
“I’m happy for him (Bel Sprinter) to run against him in a handicap but I would rather he win a Group One handicap before we try and have a crack at weight-for-age at that level.”
The 2012 William Reid Stakes nominations will be taken next Monday and published right here at Races.com.au followed by the final field on Wednesday.
Access all the Sydney and Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival racing odds online at our No. 1 recommended bookie bookmaker.com.au.