Hayes raves about classy Beethoven
Leading trainer David Hayes left nothing to ambiguity and declared classically bred Beethoven on a direct train to the top of the class after he strolled to win his maiden at a sodden Sha Tin yesterday.
'He is good enough to be thinking about the Hong Kong Derby and I think we're looking at a horse who is going to go through his classes the way that horses like All Thrills Too, Super Molly, Meridian Star and Charming City have done in recent years for me,' Hayes said after Gerald Mosse had a steering job on the shortest-priced favourite of the season at $14.50.
'After they won their maiden, they each charged up through the ratings and Beethoven will too. I think there's plenty of time to have him ready for the Derby.'He will need to make rapid advancement for Hayes' first objective with the gelding to be achieved.
'All Thrills Too and Super Molly had their first run on Hong Kong International day and I had planned to do the same with this guy last December, but leading into the race, he kicked a wall and split a pastern so that was that.
'Now I'm hoping to have him in the Class One over 1,800 metres at the meeting this year. He has to go up in the ratings quite a bit between now and then, but I suspect he's going to be rising pretty fast.'
There are few better bred horses in Hong Kong, with Beethoven's dam, Abbaye, a half-sister to five times Australian Group One winner Danewin, and from the star-studded family of the greatest broodmare in southern hemisphere racing, Eight Carat.
Eight Carat was the dam of five individual Group One winners, including 10-times Group One winner in Australia, Octagonal.
'Actually, it is a little unusual for me to get many PPGs [private purchase griffins] which have not come through the Lindsay Park operation, where we prepare quite a few horses specially to come here,' Hayes said. 'Beethoven was a 'gift' horse. His owner, Sidney Chiu Yung-sit, bought him at the Sydney Easter sales and gave him to me to train and I'm absolutely thrilled with the horse. He's going to be better on firm ground, and he's going to be better each run as he learns about racing.'
A winning bid of A$260,000 was enough to secure the blue-blooded youngster as a yearling, in stark contrast to his full brother in 2002, who sold for A$550,000 at the same venue.
'So he's a beautifully bred horse who looks the real McCoy. Gerald Mosse told me the horse has a great engine,' Hayes said, then admitted to some anxious moments before yesterday's win at long odds-on.
'It's a funny thing, you know, I never get nervous about big races even when I'm confident. But I do get a bit nervy when I have a horse like this, that I think is a very good horse and he's setting out on the path in a race where I'll be disappointed if he loses.'
That was never going to happen yesterday, though, with Mosse putting the Zabeel gelding to sleep in midfield with plenty of cover and the Frenchman was as cool as you like when it came time to press the gas.
Mosse just nursed Beethoven as the gelding took himself up into the range of the lead horses without a single question from Mosse, but when the question was posed, he had all the answers.