The TJ Smith Stakes 2013 has been put back on the agenda for Hay List who continues to please trainer John McNair ahead of their return from injury, the great sprinter to be given another more searching gallop between races at Gosford this weekend before resuming in next month’s Challenge Stakes.
The Statue Of Liberty seven-year-old fought back from a life-threatening bout of colic during an knee injury-enforced spell and has been working hard to get back to the track this autumn racing season.
Last seen running second to Foxwedge in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23 which came one run after their tight Group 1 Newmarket Handicap success, Hay List made their first major public appearance since last Thursday at Wyong.
Their former trainer Jim Taylor, who prepared Hay List for his opening nine career starts in Perth that produced an incredible eight consecutive victories before they pulled up lame after their sixth in the 2009 Colonel Reeves Stakes, may not have been impressed with that exhibition gallop but McNair was.
Taylor, whose new stable star Barakey comes over to Victoria this season for the 2013 Newmarket Handicap, didn’t believe the three time Group 1 champ was moving like the “old Hay List” and had his doubts about a successful return for the $2.5 million earner.
“I saw him the other day and I didn’t think he was moving like the old Hay List in that exhibition gallop up the bush (Wyong),” Taylor told Sky Sports Radio this week.
“He didn’t look the same horse to me.
“He’s a really good mover and he was chucking them down fairly hard so I’m not sure whether he’ll get back to where he was.”
McNair is of a different opinion however and was pleased with the way Hay List came through that gallop that he worked him again on Tuesday morning.
“(Jockey) Chris (O’Brien) said he felt good so he let him slide along,” McNair said of the early morning workout.
“I don’t clock horses but a clocker had his last 400m in 22.1secs and his last 200m in 10.8 seconds.
“He is an amazing animal, he never stops surprising me.”
Hay List will next be on show at Gosford this Sunday where their work will be stepped up in anticipation for their first-up assignment in the $175,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
“The plan is he will gallop between races at Gosford,” McNair said.
“Glyn Schofield is coming to ride him.”
If all goes well and Hay List continues to improve then McNair remains hopeful they will be ready in time to tackle the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 13.
“We’ll stick to plan A and stick to the Challenge,” McNair said.
“Hopefully we’ll get through that good and then onto the TJ Smith.”