Hayes weighs options for international day

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 November, 2004, 12:00am

Trainer David Hayes has an embarrassment of riches as Hong Kong's showcase day of racing next month fast approaches, having won yesterday's Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial for property tycoon Robert Ng Chee Siong with much-improved galloper Ain't Here.

Hayes emphatically confirmed his position as Hong Kong's frontline defender for international day, with the Cup trial being the final leg of a winning treble on the day, but the Australian horseman must now decide how he organises his two-star attack, with Ain't Here and star mare Elegant Fashion. Despite being his usual bullish self about Ain't Here's purple patch of form, Hayes was decidedly reticent to reveal the ultimate destination for the Dehere gelding - with the choices being either the $18 million Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) or the Hong Kong Vase at the so-called classic distance of 2,400m.

'At the moment, I don't have a strong leaning either way,' Hayes said coyly. 'He's in a very good position because he can win against top company at 2,000m and two of the best runs of his career have been at 2,400m.

'The other factor will be which looks the most winnable race. Last year, I made the mistake of declaring early that Elegant Fashion would run in the Cup and, in the end, the Vase fell away and would have been the easier race.

For the moment, I'm just very happy to have a horse in such good form, and seemingly still improving.'

Thanks in part to an 11-out-of-10 Brett Prebble ride, Hayes made it back-to-back International Cup Trials, having taken last year's edition with Elegant Fashion (Douglas Whyte), and the event has only been staged for three years.

With last week's course-record breaker Planet Ruler added to the mix, the Hayes stable seems to hold most of the aces for the Internationals, though the picture will become significantly clearer next week after the International Mile and Sprint trials.

Bowman's Crossing ran another bold race for second, but failed to take full advantage of an 11-pound turnaround from his last start defeat at the hands of Ain't Here in the Group Three Sha Tin Trophy (1,600m). On that occasion he conceded the Hayes-trained galloper the big parcel of weight and was beaten a neck but yesterday they met at level weights and the margin blew out to 11/4 lengths.