Trainer David Hayes has announced plans to target the latest Australian Group 1 race, the $350,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), this September as a starting point for import Jet Away’s 2013 Melbourne Cup campaign.
It was announced this week that the previously Group 2 rated weight-for-age Makybe Diva Stakes would be elevated to elite level for the 2013 edition running at Flemington Racecourse on September 7 hence becoming the country’s 72nd Group 1 race for the upcoming season.
While there was some backlash surrounding the upgrade, which also saw the prize money boosted by $50,000, already the benefits look to be outweighing the criticism with the race attracting its first likely high class contender in rising seven-year-old Cape Cross stallion Jet Away.
Previously prepared by the recently departed Sir Henry Cecil, most famous for his training of the world’s then highest-rated racehorse Frankel, Jet Away was bought over to Australia at the start of the year in preparation of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Having won just a single stakes race in their 16 starts in Europe, Jet Away is undefeated down under after winning both of their assignments for Hayes this autumn.
First-up off a seven month break they blitzed their Aussie debut when the easy winner of the Yalumba Golden Mile at Bendigo on March 16 backing up two weeks later to beat home Folding Gear in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on March 30.
“Most of the imports I’ve ever trained, and I’ve trained a lot of them that have won those big, dream races, they haven’t showed as much as him in their first prep,” Hayes said.
“Nine times out of 10 they’re better in their second, which is a good sign.”
Currently enjoying a brief break ahead of their spring return, Hayes has named the Makybe Diva Stakes as a nice stepping stone for them to resume in as they head towards the season’s major staying races.
“It was always one of the (first up) options, but that just confirmed it as the actual option,” Hayes said of the upgrade.
Hayes is no stranger to Makybe Diva Stakes glory either having won the Group 2 race with Zabeel (1990) and Confectioner (2005) when it was known as the Craiglee Stakes.
Among the Lindsay Park stables other victories in the feature over the past three decades are the likes of Hugs Dancers (20040, Jeune (1995), Military Plume (1987) and Fine Offer (1985).
The grand final goal for Jet Away is of course the ‘race that stops a nation’, connections at MCR Bloodstock targeting the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 5.
They are also expected to run in the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 for which they are the $11 fourth favourite for in the latest bookmaker.com.au odds.
With the rapidly growing dominance of the imports in the world’s richest handicap, and their excellent opening two runs down under, Jet Away is installed as one of the top early fancies in the pre-nomination bookmaker.com.au.
While the Darren Weir-trained Ballarat stayer Puissance De Lune dominates the markets at $9, Jet Away occupies the third line of betting at a current quote of $15.
Hayes will also target fellow import Motivado for the big spring cups, the Motivator gelding having won the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2500m) second-up for their new trainer in Adelaide before their second to Fiumicino in the Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) in the wet at Randwick on May 25.
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