The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Boom sprinter Hay List is still a chance for this year’s Hong Kong International Race Day in December having continued to improve from their nasty leg infection, but trainer John McNair said there is still a way to go before his galloper is back to full fitness.
Statue Of Liberty gelding Hay List became a dual Group 1 winner last season with their blistering three and a half length victory over Hinchinbrook in the All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in April.
Following that win, McNair took Hay List up to Brisbane for the winter carnival but their campaign was cut short after the rising six-year-old injured his leg.
Hay List’s sole run in Queensland, and their last appearance on the turf, was a second to arch rival Black Caviar in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 14.
McNair planned to back Hay List up in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1400m) a fortnight after the Cup, for which he was the clear favourite for following the non-acceptance of Black Caviar.
In the lead-up to 10,000 Day, however, Hay List cut his leg and was robbed of the chance to add a third Group 1 win to his record.
Since then the $1.7 million earner has been under care in the Randwick Equine Centre, Hay List only recently coming off his latest bout of antibiotics.
“I went to see him yesterday and he was OK,” McNair said on Monday.
“But he only just came off the antibiotics on Saturday.
“Past experience with him tells me the third or fourth day is critical.
“If we get past that then I hope to bring him home at the end of the week.
“The vets are happy and he has been trotting up sound but I’m guarded.”
While his stable ace recovers, McNair has been on a fact-finding mission in Asia to better assess the facilities in Hong Kong and Singapore.
McNair remains optimistic that Hay List, although an unlikely spring carnival contender, will be right to travel internationally at the end of the year for an overseas assault that would include the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin in December.
As Hay List’s racing future looks on the up, McNair is facing the prospect of losing his 29-year-old mare Hooch, the dam of his maiden Group 1 winner, Haulpak mare Highpak.
“She has had pneumonia and it’s very worrying in a horse her age,” McNair said.
“She has been with me when I started training and is the mother of Highpak who won the Karrakatta Plate in Perth in 1989 when it was a Group One race.
“She is obviously a very special mare to me.”
Hay List may be a doubtful addition to McNair’s spring carnival contingent, but one of his sentimental champions Mustard is preparing to go around for another season.
A rising 14-year-old, Vettori gelding Mustard continues to defy his age and the odds and McNair believes the veteran still has a few miles in them yet.
Mustard has raced an incredible 119 times for 17 wins and 29 minor placings, earning a fraction over $800,000 in prize money.
Their biggest career wins came in 2006, Mustard saluting in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Rosehill and the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes.
“Mustard is incredible and the plan is for him to come back probably over 1200 metres in the first week in August,” McNair said.
“He is not a winter horse, he doesn’t like the wet tracks, but he’s fit and well and wants to race again.”
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