Trackwork heroics were the last thought on trainer John McNair’s mind when he put the finishing touches on Hay List’s Newmarket Handicap preparation.
Three days out from what bookmakers believe will be a lopsided return clash with the Melbourne wonder mare Black Caviar, Hay List made a cameo appearance on the Gosford course proper on Wednesday morning.
With McNair in the saddle, the serious part of the gallop went for less than 400 metres.
“He pretty much worked by himself and I went a little bit easy on him,” McNair said.
“Basically I took him there for a quick dash over 300 metres to clean his wind up.”
McNair said Hay List had his last serious gallop last Friday when partnered by race jockey Glyn Schofield.
The work confirmed the sprinter was back to full fitness following some shoulder soreness after being on the receiving end of a 3-1/4-length Black Caviar trouncing in last month’s Lightning Stakes.
“Glyn was happy so that made me happy,” McNair said.
Hay List has long occupied the second line of betting for Saturday’s $1 million race at Flemington.
His position as a $12 chance remained unchanged on Wednesday morning despite drawing inside Black Caviar.
Hay List will start from barrier three while Black Caviar drew gate eight in a field of 12.
Asked if he thought the barriers worked in favour of his horse, McNair said: “I’ve got no idea about the significance of the draw.
“I suppose a lot depends on where the better going is and which part of the track they go to.”
Hay List will meet Black Caviar for the first time under handicap conditions in the Newmarket.
They first clashed at weight-for-age when they finished at opposite ends of the track in the Patinack Farm Classic.
Then, in spite of Hay List’s improved form, the Lightning Stakes was also a one-way weight-for-age contest but there will be a 3.5kg swing in favour of McNair’s sprinter in the Newmarket.
Bookmakers are taking no notice of the weight turnaround with Black Caviar firming even further after acceptances.