Shaf on Trial for Dubai at Moonee Valley

David Hayes & Tom Dabernig will confirm plans to head to overseas this Dubai World Cup Carnival with smart young colt Shaf if the up-and-comer can win the Moonee Valley opener on Saturday.

David Hayes

Trainer David Hayes could have dual representation at the Dubai World Cup Carnival this March. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

A three-year-old son of Wanted the galloper lines up at the races for the ninth time this weekend accepted to run in the $80,000 Schweppes Handicap (1000m) with Craig Williams aboard.

Drawn in barrier seven of 10 in the handicap clash, Shaf will carry 59kg and pays $13 through in markets for Moonee Valley Race 1 that are firmly led by odds-on favourite Royal Snitzel ($1.90).

Mick Price’s lightly-raced Snitzel filly Royal Snitzel has won two of her three career starts and is first-up here having last been seen running a close second behind Sabatini in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in mid-August last year.

Shaf meanwhile had his last start at Moonee Valley on December 27 when three lengths away fourth behind San Nicasio in a Benchmark 78 over 1200m with Nicholas Hall in the saddle.

Hayes & Dabernig are now hoping he can improve off that when stepped back down in distance and win at the Valley to earn a trip to Dubai later in the year after the operation was invited to have Aussie representation there from Sheikh Hamdan.

Hamdan has a strong history with Hayes and his Lindsay Park operation including sending them imported Melbourne Cup winners At Talaq and Jeune, as well as Fraar and Tawqeet who won the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate winner back in 1989 Almaarad.

Hamdan is also associated with the likes of Australian Guineas champ Zabeel, Blue Diamond winners Mahaasin and Reaan, and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Rewaaya among others.

Four horses are currently on standby for the trip to the United Arab Emirates but just the one is guaranteed to make the trip at this stage.

Hayes confirmed Tashbeeh would head to Dubai after the Commands colt won impressively over 1400m at Flemington last Saturday.

His first start over there is likely to be in the Listed Meydan Classic on February 26 as a lead-up to the US$2 million Dubai Derby on March 28.

The horse could then stay on in Dubai with his return to Oz to target the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival far from confirmed.

“I thought Tashbeeh was looking like an Australian Guineas horse but he’ll do well in Dubai,” Hayes told AAP.

“We’ll see what the lay of the land is but he puts plenty in my stable so it will be nice to have a representative from here to race over in Dubai.”

The Victorian horseman is now hoping Shaf will also confirm a bid overseas with a win this Australia Day long weekend.

“It looks like I’ve got to go to Dubai a few times,” Hayes said.

“I’ve got four that I’ve entered on the plane but at this stage I’ll only be sending one.

“If Shaf wins easily on the weekend we may consider sending him but he’s got a pretty hard race to win.”

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