Hayes aiming to cash in
David Hayes. Photo: Pat Scala
TRAINER David Hayes yesterday defended his decision to start Melbourne Cup winner Americain in today's Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick rather than the Sydney Cup. He says a win in the weight-for-age event can significantly bolster the stallion's breeding profile.
Hayes said Americain was never a contender for the Sydney Cup, while the Queen Elizabeth Stakes was always the race he had in mind for the seven-year-old.
''The difference between the two races is enormous when you consider the benefits of winning a Queen Elizabeth and showing the world that he's not just a two-miler,'' he said.
''I think there's millions and millions of dollars of value awaiting if he can win today.
''The Sydney Cup is what it is: a two-mile race that won't help bolster his credentials as a stallion, it's just a two miler and he's won one of those 18 months ago.
''I just feel that he's been pigeon-holed as a grinding old two-miler, when in fact nothing can be further from the truth.
''He's as fresh as a daisy and bouncing and don't underestimate the horse's capacity to win a 2000-metre weight-for-age race.''
Australian breeders are sure to warm to Americain if he can beat what's arguably the best Queen Elizabeth Stakes field in decades.
Hayes and other trainers with runners in the $500,000 group 1 event maintain it's equivalent to a Cox Plate without three-year-olds.
While Hayes is thrilled with the progress of the stallion since his defeat at Rosehill three weeks ago, he did bemoan his luck with Americain again drawing the outside barrier today, having drawn the outside at his two other appearances this autumn.
''I'll sit down with [jockey] Craig [Williams] and all those involved and plot the best course that gives Americain the most opportunity of winning,'' Hayes said.
''People seem to make out that he's just a plodding old two-miler; if that had been the case, probably the Sydney Cup was the way to go, but he's not and with millions of dollars in stud value hanging over the Queen Elizabeth win the choice was a no-brainer.''
Just 18 months ago Americain defeated champion Australian galloper So You Think in the Melbourne Cup and a year later bravely finished fourth, lugging 58 kilograms, behind the French stayer, Dunaden.
Williams today replaces Gerald Mosse, a move Hayes supports.
''One thing you can say about Craig is that he's hot and he's probably never ridden better, so he's a good man to have on your side,'' he said.
Hayes admits that the Peter Moody-trained Manighar and champion Sydney mare More Joyous are the logical threats.
''Their form is faultless and their appearance in the race lifts this year's Queen Elizabeth Stakes into the category of being one of the best 2000-metre weight-for-age races run in Sydney for many years,'' he said.
Bookmakers have More Joyous a $3.50 favourite ahead of Manighar, who is aiming for his fourth success in a row, while Americain is on the third line of betting at $4.50.
Hayes will also start Eagle Falls in the Hall Mark Stakes today and believes he can turn around his recent poor form. ''He's fresh and we've just kept him fresh and he relishes racing in that state and although he's got 59.5 kilograms, he's got a major class factor on his side, which always helps,'' Hayes said.
Trainer David ''Butch'' Bourne is relying on Zamorar's class to prevail after a freshen up ahead of today's Jockeys Trust Handicap over 1000 metres at Caulfield. Last start in Adelaide, Zamorar had a tough run from the outside barrier in the group 2 Euclase Stakes over 1200 metres at Morphettville on March 12.
Sent out as the favourite, Zamorar was beaten 1¾ lengths when fourth to Go The Knuckle. A post-race veterinary inspection revealed the three-year-old suffered mild heat stress.