Hayes breaks his duck with Great Win
Former dual championship-winning trainer David Hayes had the spring back in his step yesterday as a humble minor-race double at Sha Tin ended his nightmare run of outs.
Unaccustomed to such long dry spells, Hayes had endured a losing run of 88 starters, but the Chinese lucky number arrived right on schedule to see fallen idol Great Win (Gerald Mosse) turn the form around for both himself and his trainer in the third event.
And for good measure, Hayes bounced back to the winner's circle 30 minutes later with a boilover when second reserve Super Dana (apprentice Paul Lo Pak-hin) upset Triple Trio players in the following event at over 50-1.
'It's one of those things in racing - everyone goes through losing spells but I'm especially pleased not only to lead in a winner but that it is Great Win,' Hayes said.
The three-year-old had looked a sprint star in the making last season at two and Hayes had high hopes he might measure up to the topliners, but after racing respectably early this term without winning, Great Win's form dropped right away in October and November.
'I think gelding him at the end of November and giving him a break has made a difference to the horse,' Hayes said.
'But we also made a fairly bold decision to go to the outside today so he could come down there alone. He wasn't showing as much fight as I thought he should when he was racing in with horses before, so today with an outside gate was the time to test the theory.'
Mosse exploded into the early lead on Great Win down the outside rail, while most of the field went towards the inside and middle of the track, and looked to lead by several lengths in the middle stages of the race before fighting off favourite Bulb King in the final stages.
'It wasn't a big margin, but the second and third horses have both been going very well and I think what Great Win did today was better than it might have looked,' Hayes explained.
'Unlike some meetings on the straight course, there was no advantage in the ground out where my horse raced. They've done some work on the outside of the track there recently and chopped the ground up a bit.
'We wanted to be there for the sake of having the horse concentrate better and it worked, but I think we were in the slower ground. He's run 57 seconds which is probably what he can run and when you compare that in a Class Three with what Silent Witness ran in the big race with six pounds less to carry, that was a decent win.'
While Great Win was well-backed to beat the favourites in his race, Super Dana certainly was not in the Class Four over 2,000 metres and returned $546 for every $10 for his supporters.
'I couldn't say it was expected but it wasn't a strong race, he had a light weight with the apprentice claim and maybe we found something out about Super Dana today,' Hayes said.
'His last couple had not been that good so I backed off him and tried to freshen him up. It just shows you, once horses are fit for the season they probably don't need much to keep them there and he's a case in point. I didn't do much with him since his last start nearly three weeks ago and he's raced very well on the fresh side. That might suit him. It was a surprise to get into the race in the first place as second reserve and an even nicer surprise to win.'