THE continued reinvention of David Hayes’s stable will be amplified in the next fortnight as the master trainer rolls out a swarm of smart two-year-olds seeking a spot in the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes as well as the first of a wave of European imports he hopes will be bound for spring glory.
When the Melbourne Racing Club announced third declarations for the Blue Diamond during the week, the Hayes name was the most prolific to feature on the list of nominations with 10 of the final 49 hopefuls under his care as he chases his fourth win in the race in eight years and his sixth Blue Diamond victory.
One of those contestants, Friday night’s impressive debut winner Gregers, seems likely to secure a place in the race along with Mount Zero, but Hayes still has a few aces to play to increase his stake come Victoria’s best juvenile contest.
”It’s going to come down to prizemoney and it will be a question of whether a few of mine have enough to get in,” he said. ”I’d hoped that I Am Titanium could have run a place [on Saturday] to get him closer but there was a nose by a nose between fourth and second. A couple of others are borderline as well, but we’ve got a few more to come.”
This Saturday’s Blue Diamond Preludes offer trainers the few final opportunities to qualify for a place in the series final on February 23, and Hayes will be represented by at least one runner in each of the fillies’ and colts’ divisions.
Fastnet Rock colt Fast ‘N’ Rocking is likely to run after an eye-catching performance behind Dissident in the Blue Diamond Preview, while Encosta De Lago filly Blue Palace returns from a spell after a Yarra Valley trial win in the fillies’ event. Both runners will need to finish in the placings to have any hope of sneaking into the final field for the Blue Diamond. Just as well known for his success with imported gallopers as he is with juveniles, Hayes is also looking forward to stepping recently acquired European gallopers Why Not and Jet Away out in preparation for a possible tilt at the Australian Cup in March.
Why Not was bought from Germany last year and was seen just once during the spring carnival when running a strong race over 1600 metres in an open handicap at Flemington. Hayes is confident the horse has developed during the summer and is capable of measuring up to a good standard this campaign.
”He will run over 1700m at Flemington in two weeks and we’ll see where he ends up,” Hayes said.
”He’s got a nomination for the Australian Cup but whether he makes it to that level this time we’ll have to wait and see. I’ve got no doubt though that he has the makings of a group-standard horse.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.