Hayes did not find going easy
David Hayes didn't quite have the day he had hoped for yesterday at either Sha Tin or Flemington and even the first-up performance of quality stayer Native Dream left him on the wrong side of his usual bright mood.
While Hayes scored with progressive four-year-old Lucky Dragon (Gerald Mosse) in a Class Four, he had looked on ruefully as a wide barrier certainly cost class mare Elegant Fashion the chance of a placing in the Group One Mackinnon Stakes in Melbourne and Planet Ruler didn't get the clearest of runs in the HSBC Premier Vase, which featured locally.
Then Native Dream was strung up between runners in the final race yesterday before charging home to just miss a placing behind Sambuca.
'I thought we should definitely have run second at least. It's great to see the horse come back so well and run so well over a mile but the frustrating side of that is that he is going to be difficult to program from now until his target, which is the Hong Kong Vase,' Hayes said.
'There are no lead-up races for the high-rated horses heading to the 2,400m race and that's the sort of distance this horse is going to shine over. Unfortunately, he's not going to get the lead-up preparation that will help him to repel the Europeans.'
Elegant Fashion, who will spearhead the local team for the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup in December, spent the entire Mackinnon Stakes in no-girl's land after drawing wide at the start and did well to just miss third in a tight finish for the minor money behind Grand Armee.
'She just had too much to do from the barrier,' Hayes observed bitterly, but he was more upbeat about Lucky Dragon's 1,400m win at his fourth race start.
'He's really a middle distance horse so 1,400m is running him too short but he was able to sit wide and win. He's no star but that was an above average win and he'll make the grade for sure.'