Hayes’s quartet ready for Australian raid
David Hayes's knack for causing an Australian Cup boilover will be put to the test again this weekend when Lindsay Park has potentially four runners in the 2000m feature.
Hayes, who now trains in partnership with son Ben and Tom Dabernig, will start last year's winner Harlem, last-start winner Sikandarabad, Moonee Valley Cup winner Ventura Storm and the imported Muntahaa, having his first start for the stable after running ninth in last year's Melbourne Cup.
Muntahaa is raced by Sheik Hamdam, who had Jeune and At Talaq run second in the Cup for David and his father Colin, but won with Istidaad for the trainer's late brother Peter in 1999.
David Hayes has won the Cup four times, dating back to Better Loosen Up, who was at an odds-on quote when he streeted his rivals in 1991.
But the three subsequent winners have all been double figures.
Niconero (2009) was $13 when beating the odds-on pop Theseo, Spillway was the same price in 2015 and Harlem was $61 when beating hot favourite Gailo Chop last year.
Hayes sees some similarities between Gailo Chop and this year's top fancy Avilius and he is hoping for a repeat result.
"I'm really confident my horses are going to run well," he said.
"Last year we beat Gailo Chop who had Avilius formlines.
"I've duplicated that with Harlem and Ventura Storm and I really like Sikandarabad.
"We have nice horses hitting good form."
Hayes noted Muntahaa has to create a little bit of history by winning the race first up, but pointed out the feat has almost been achieved previously.
"I tried it when I had Americain and he got beaten a neck. Muntahaa is a pretty smart horse. If he works well this week I will (run)," he said.
Muntahaa won't be the only horse trying to win the Cup first up.
Nick Williams confirmed Macedon Lodge intends to start its 2016 and 2017 Melbourne Cup winners Almandin and Rekindling first up on Saturday.
Lindsay Park is also out to create some more history with Redkirk Warrior shooting for a third straight win in the Newmarket this weekend.
"If he does it will be a little bit special," Hayes said.
"You might look at his formlines and they don't look quite as good.
"Last start he drew a good gate, got the gun run and never got out, so that finishing position was better than it looked."
Unless he gains a surprise call-up for the All Star Mile, Australian Guineas runner-up Hawkshot is likely to run next in the Rosehill Guineas, with Hayes believing the son of Fiorente will relish getting to 2000m.