While confident his horse is in the right form to win Saturday’s Zipping Classic 2014, trainer David Hayes admits the step up to 2400m again could be Spillway’s downfall at Sandown Racecourse.
The Rail Link stallion is one of nine stayers making up the field for this year’s $350,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m), a mile and a half contest named in honour of four-time winner Zipping (2007-10).
One time favourite for the Caulfield Cup, Spillway is well positioned for the weight-for-age clash according to his Euroa-based co-trainer Hayes, who is now in partnership with Tom Dabernig, but whether he can go the distance is a definite query.
The European import has four times been tested over the 2400m but has managed to run third just once at Goodwood in the UK in July last year.
Down under he’s been up to the distance just once when on October 4 at Randwick he failed at the trip crossing seven lengths away ninth behind the Chris Waller-trained Junoob in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m).
After that he dropped down to 2000m and went to Flemington on November 1 for the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes where from a wide barrier 13 of 14 draw he finished a strong fourth only two and a half lengths off Happy Trails in the Derby Day showdown.
Now Hayes is giving him another go over more metres in the hopes he can see it out this time.
“I think weight-for-age-wise he gets a good tick,” Hayes told The Age.
“His runs in the Caulfield Stakes [sic] and the Mackinnon Stakes were full of merit, so I think we’re over that hurdle.
“But I feel that while his record doesn’t indicate it, he can still be very effective at 2400 metres. In a small field like Saturday’s he can be up in the firing line and prove very hard to beat.”
Current Zipping Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Prince Of Penzance ($3.50).
Spillway then is the close second elect at an easing price of $4 (out from $3.80) after drawing barrier one.
He will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn from the inside alley and is joined in the field by stablemate Rawnaq ($15).
The race lost its drawcard contender at acceptance stage when owner Lloyd Williams opted to accept only for Green Moon and Sea Moon, and instead send his headline hopeful Fawkner to the paddock ahead of the autumn.
The loss of Cox Plate runner-up Fawkner from the line-up was a relief to Hayes though who admitted that he would have been the horse to beat on Saturday.
“I must say I’m relieved that Fawkner’s not there,” Hayes said.
“He would have been very, very hard to beat. His form this spring has been excellent.
“But his two stablemates, Green Moon and Sea Moon, have world-class form profiles at their best … I’m not sure how they’re performing at the moment, but on their day they can be very hard to toss.”
Green Moon missed the Melbourne Cup with a cracked hoof but the 2012 winner of ‘The Race That Stops a Nation’ is back for Saturday paying $5 (in from $6) while Sea Moon is at $15 to atone for a Caulfield Cup failure last start.
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