Lindsay Park expects a drop in class to be a winning formula for two stable runners at Moonee Valley.
Churchill Dancer and Flying Light both contested Group Two races at their latest outings as they revert to off-season races on Saturday.
A firmer from $6 to $3.70 in the City Jeep Handicap, Churchill Dancer has been one of the best-backed Moonee Valley runners.
The gelding won over 1200m at Moonee Valley in August before taking out the Group Two Bobbie Lewis Stakes at Flemington in September.
He then finished fifth behind Chautauqua at Flemington before running seventh in the Linlithgow Stakes at Flemington.
“We’ve freshened him up after Flemington in the hope he should be well placed down the straight over summer,” Hayes said.
“And this race fits in nicely.”
The Standish Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day is the race Hayes has in mind for the sprinter.
Flying Light contests the Strathmore FC 2005 Premiers Handicap after a last-start fifth, beaten just over three lengths, behind Mahuta in the Sandown Guineas.
Hayes is thankful Mahuta is not in the race with Flying Light finishing behind the Darren Weir-trained galloper at his last three outings.
“He raced in a really hard part of the spring and I think he’ll flourish in summer,” Hayes said of Flying Light.
Hayes has a healthy respect for Fatinaah in the McMahon’s Dairy Handicap.
Fatinaah lines up for his fifth start on Saturday and Hayes is looking at getting his rating up to run in better-class races over summer.
“He’s really in good shape and and I just want to keep going with him,” Hayes said.
“I think he’ll develop into a really good sprinter.”
Hayes will also saddle first-starter Rampage in the John Paraskevas Plate and Golden Mane in the Ranvet Handicap, as well as presenting Criterion and Orator for a track gallop before the opening race.