Hayes back in winning form Down Under
David Hayes returned to training in Australia as a winner yesterday, scoring with his first runner since going back after a 10-year tour of duty in Hong Kong.
Hayes, 42, won the A$50,000 Cash Logistics & Security Handicap at Melbourne's Moonee Valley racecourse with four-year-old filly Plans, ridden by seven pound claimer Ryan Hinton.
Hayes's late father, Colin Hayes, was famous for the saying 'the future belongs to those who plan for it' and his son's comeback-day winner was undoubtedly set-up with the professionalism and marketing flair for which the family is so renowned.
It was a similar story when Hayes arrived in Hong Kong in 1995, after winning 10 trainers' championships in five years in Australia.
Hayes scored with his first Hong Kong runner, Esteemed, owned by Feng Chin-yen and ridden by Steven King, at Sha Tin in race two on the opening day of the 1995-96 season. Esteemed, a son of Bletchingly, was backed from $82 to $65 and was followed by 448 more winners before Hayes called it quits at the end of June.
Plans, a daughter of Strategic, had won four of her 12 starts under the tutelage of Tony McEvoy, who had trained the team since the death of Hayes' elder brother Peter in an aviation accident four years ago.
Hinton settled Plans ($2.8 favourite) in fifth place and allowed her to travel smoothly to the lead before the corner. On straightening, Plans held a 11/2-length lead which she maintained to the line, scoring from Regal Summer (Noel Callow) and Palatine Hill (Peter Mertens).
Hayes was later disappointed, however, when highly-rated Danehill filly Langness failed to beat a runner home in the William Crocket Stakes.
Despite the bullish start, Hayes is playing his return in a typically low-key manner. He described his return to Australia as 'an exciting challenge' and is wary of placing his horses correctly and getting a feel for the domestic form again.
'Today's win has been a great thrill, but I'm taking things a little quietly at this stage,' he explained. 'I want to see how the form works out in Melbourne and what sort of horses will be suited at what level.
'It'll be a slow start but that doesn't worry me. I hope to build up the Melbourne stable to its capacity of 50, but I think at the moment that might be a touch optimistic. I want our Flemington base to have only Melbourne-standard horses and if that means we can only half-fill it, so be it. But I must say the team is looking quite exciting,' he added.
Hayes said that for McEvoy, the move back to being assistant trainer has suited perfectly.
'Tony is more than happy to take his old job back,' Hayes continued. 'He'll be based in Adelaide and I think he's looking forward to the change of pace from when he was training the entire team.
'It will be like the old firm really, Tony sitting next to me on a morning helping me work out the plans and strategies for our team. He is an invaluable part of our business and he's certainly going to be of a great assistance to me as I feel my way back into Australian racing.'