After a long battle with laminitis the horse that gave champion sprinter Black Caviar a run for her money on more than one occasion, Hay List passed away on Tuesday.
Prepared by John McNair at Gosford, on whose property he will be buried, for the better part of his 28-start career, the great Statue Of Liberty gelding was a nine-year-old and had been retired since the end of 2013.
He was diagnosed with laminitis in mid-December, the latest in a long line of health issues for the giant, and was euthanised yesterday to save him suffering any further.
While his last race was a forgettable 14th of 15 runners in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) two years ago, his career was glittered with superstar performances that saw the WA-owned hero win over $2.5 million in prize money and earn a World Thoroughbred Rating of 125.
A 15-time winner and six time runner-up, Hay List’s last victory was the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) where he defeated Queenslander Buffering in March of 2012 in a big 22-starter field from barrier 14 with his regular rider Glyn Schofield aboard.
His Newmarket success was historic as he carried a hefty 58.5kg to victory, the most weight for any winner of the famous Flemington sprint race since Gold Stakes in 1959.
“His win in the Newmarket delivered one of the greatest wins in the race we have seen,” Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said.
“He was an outstanding sprinter and he continued a legacy of great WA sprinters through Placid Arc, Heron Bridge, Scenic Blast and Miss Andretti.
Originally prepared in Perth by Jim Taylor, Hay List hit the headlines around the country after winning his opening eight career starts in Western Australia before a sixth in the 2009 Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) saw the streak come to an end.
He was transferred to McNair’s care and debuted in Sydney during the winter of 2010 with a black-type second before travelling to Brisbane for a barnstorming five length victory in the Group 3 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) that year.
Hay List broke his Group 1 maiden that spring at Moonee Valley overcoming interference to win the Manikato Stakes over 1200m, the first of his eventual three elite levels along with the aforementioned Newmarket Handicap and the 2011 All Aged Stakes.
His first encounter with the world’s greatest sprinter Black Caviar, who would later retire from racing with 25 wins from as many starts including a host of Group 1 victories and an international elite level, was in November of 2010 in a highly spruiked showdown for the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m).
Despite the hype the clash fizzled with Black Caviar the all-too-easy winner while Hay List faded to finish a disappointing sixth over 11 lengths from the mighty mare.
A horse that arguably should have owned a number more Group 1 trophies, his other run ins with Black Caviar were a second in the 2011 and 2012 Lightning Stakes, second in the 2011 TJ Smith Stakes, second in the 2011 BTC Cup and 10th in the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes.
“Physically, he was imposing and he owned an outstanding record, which would have been ever greater had he not raced in the same era as Black Caviar,” Carpenter said.
“On occasions we would not have appreciated just how great Black Caviar was without Hay List. He tried to put the sword to her a couple of times, but she was too good – but he finished a long way ahead of the rest.
“Memories of him shooting clear over the rise in the TJ Smith and Black Caviar steaming past him is one of the most powerful racing visions in modern times.”
Schofield jumped on Twitter last night to pay the horse he rode 16 times the respect he deserved.
“No horse has ever meant so much to me. RIP my big friend,” Schofield tweeted.
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