After an impressive track gallop at Gosford on Monday, local trainer John McNair has named the Concorde Stakes 2013 as the likely first-up run of his veteran sprint star Hay List.
The triple Group 1 winning Statue Of Liberty eight-year-old was scheduled to make their highly anticipated return in the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) earlier in the month.
He was scratched from the race, won by the Joe Pride-trained Rain Affair, however due to the unsuitably soft track.
A $2.55 million earner originally from WA, Hay List hasn’t raced since finishing a distant 19th behind super mare Black Caviar in her swansong race, the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) back in mid-April.
Controversy has surrounded the new season return of the warhorse too with critics condemning McNair for bringing the injury-prone and ageing champ back for another season.
It’s been a long time since Hay List, who has suffered everything from ongoing hoof injuries to life-threatening bouts of colic and infection, was racing at their best.
Their last victory was over a year ago in the 2012 Newmarket Handicap.
McNair won’t be put off by the naysayers however and knows his horse is in good form and still keen to race.
They had two earlier barrier trials since the TJ Smith, the most recent a fifth at Randwick over 1000m on August 2.
The horse’s regular jockey Glyn Schofield then rode them for an easy 1000m heat at home yesterday, and was thrilled with Hay List’s effort to win in 1:1.54.
“I just let him stroll along, stretch his legs around the corner and eased him down the last 100m,” Schofield told the Courier Mail.
“John didn’t want him to do that much and he did have a bit of a `blow’ after the trail but he felt great. The horse is starting to put back on a bit of muscle tone which he has been lacking.
“I’ll go back up to work him on Thursday or Friday, give him a three-quarter pace gallop, then maybe he will have another fast gallop early next week to get ready for the race.”
McNair is now looking at the $125,000 Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on September 7 for their new first-up assignment, which Schofield believes they will be right for.
“Contrary to what people might think Hay List’s soundness is not an issue at all – he is completely sound,” Schofield said.
“We just have to improve his fitness and get him up to speed for a race now. It’s much preferable to have this problem than trying to get him over an injury.”
How they come through that run and what they show will then guide McNair and connections as to which big Group 1’s Hay List will be set for this spring.
Options include the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Monee Valley on October 25 which they won back in 2010, and also the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
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